Art Stars Cindy Sherman and Catherine Opie Have United With an Unlikely Mission: To Make Antique Cameo Jewelry Cool Again

A master carver from Italy has executed their designs, which are made in collaboration with Liz Swig.

Spa pendant by Cindy Sherman for the new LIZWORK Cameo line. Photo courtesy of LIZWORKS.
Spa pendant by Cindy Sherman for the new LIZWORK Cameo line. Photo courtesy of LIZWORKS.

Artists Catherine Opie and Cindy Sherman have teamed up on a new line of jewelry, creating carved cameo pendants based on a selection of their photographs.

The nine pieces, which include rings, earrings, and cufflinks, as well as pendants that can be worn as a necklace or brooch, were unveiled last week during the opening of the Venice Biennale at Harry’s Dolci on the island of Giudecca.

“I really wanted to make something contemporary in relationship to the cameo, to bring the cameo back,” Opie told Wallpaper.

The project, simply dubbed Cameo, is the latest offering from LIZWORKS, art collector and patron Liz Swig’s platform for collaborations between artists and fashion and design brands. Previously, she launched a porcelain collection from Jeff Koons and Bernardaud, Selima Optique sunglasses by Vik Muniz and Hiroshi Sugimoto, and a line of Ippolita charm bracelets featuring seven female artists including Sherman, Laurie Simmons, and Mickalene Thomas.

Cindy Sherman, Liz Swig and Catherine Opie at the unveiling of the LIZWORKS Cameo collection at Harry's Dolci during the 58th Venice Biennale on May 08, 2019 in Venice, Italy. Photo by Simone Padovani/Awakening/Getty Images for CAMEO.

Cindy Sherman, Liz Swig and Catherine Opie at the unveiling of the LIZWORKS Cameo collection at Harry’s Dolci during the 58th Venice Biennale on May 08, 2019 in Venice, Italy. Photo by Simone Padovani/Awakening/Getty Images for CAMEO.

“I have always been fascinated with cameos and the artistry behind them, and equally as fascinated with the dialogue of tradition and contemporary—and bringing them together,” Swig told Whitewall. “The cameo felt like an art form that was asking to be given a new dialogue and perspective in our present times.”

She was inspired by show of Opie’s photographs at London’s Thomas Dane Gallery in 2017, where a series of oval portraits with black backgrounds reminded her of antique cameo pendants, relief carvings in contrasting colors on semi-precious stones.

Later, as Sherman began sharing new work on Instagram, Swig asked the famed self-portraitist to come on board as well, seeing a natural connection between the contemporary selfie and ancient cameo portraits.

<em>Pensive</em> earrings by Cindy Sherman and <em>Mary</em> earrings by Catherine Opie for the new LIZWORK Cameo line. Photo courtesy of LIZWORKS.

Pensive earrings by Cindy Sherman and Mary earrings by Catherine Opie for the new LIZWORK Cameo line. Photo courtesy of LIZWORKS.

“Cathy’s work plays with the romance of the Renaissance and the Old Masters, with the grit of contemporary life,” Swig told Elle Decor. “And Cindy Sherman’s selfie Instagram series begged to be given a voice with one of the oldest forms of portraiture.”

Tackling the ancient art of cameo was a major challenge for Swig, who traveled to Torre del Greco in Naples, where craftsmen have been producing shell cameos for centuries. There, she enlisted Gino Di Luca, a third-generation cameo-maker, to bring Opie and Sherman’s designs to life in carved cornelian and sardonyx, with pink gold settings and gem stone embellishments: yellow diamonds, gray pearls, tourmaline, and orange sapphires, to name a few.

The limited edition works are for sale on the LIZWORKS website, with prices available on request.

See more images of the jewelry below.

<em>Oliver and Mr. Nibble</em> pendant by Catherine Opie for the new LIZWORK Cameo line. Photo courtesy of LIZWORKS.

Oliver and Mr. Nibble pendant by Catherine Opie for the new LIZWORK Cameo line. Photo courtesy of LIZWORKS.

<em>Match Strike</em> ring by Catherine Opie for the new LIZWORK Cameo line. Photo courtesy of LIZWORKS.

Match Strike ring by Catherine Opie for the new LIZWORK Cameo line. Photo courtesy of LIZWORKS.

<em>Halo</em> ring by Cindy Sherman for the new LIZWORK Cameo line. Photo courtesy of LIZWORKS.

Halo ring by Cindy Sherman for the new LIZWORK Cameo line. Photo courtesy of LIZWORKS.

Self-Portrait Nursing pendant by Catherine Opie for the new LIZWORK Cameo line. Photo courtesy of LIZWORKS.

Self-Portrait Nursing pendant by Catherine Opie for the new LIZWORK Cameo line. Photo courtesy of LIZWORKS.

<em>Munch's Logs</em> cufflinks by Catherine Opie for the new LIZWORK Cameo line. Photo courtesy of LIZWORKS.

Munch’s Logs cufflinks by Catherine Opie for the new LIZWORK Cameo line. Photo courtesy of LIZWORKS.

<em>Baby</em> ring by Cindy Sherman for the new LIZWORK Cameo line. Photo courtesy of LIZWORKS.

Baby ring by Cindy Sherman for the new LIZWORK Cameo line. Photo courtesy of LIZWORKS.


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