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.
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.
“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.
“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.
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