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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Negotiation by Jewelry....

Photo: 'Serpent Pin': Madeleine Albright wore this brooch dating from about 1860, after the Saddam Hussein government called her a serpent. - Photo provided by Museum of Arts & Design reported by

Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's Pin Collection Exhibited for First Time at Museum of Arts and Design

NEW YORK, NY.- The first major museum exhibition of jewelry from the personal collection of Madeleine Albright will premiere at the Museum of Arts and Design on September 30 and will remain on view through January 31, 2010. Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection features more than 200 pins, many of which Secretary Albright wore to communicate a message during her diplomatic tenure. The exhibition examines the collection for its historic significance as well as the expressive power of jewelry and its ability to communicate through a style and language of its own. The exhibition will be presented in the Museum’s Tiffany & Co. Gallery, dedicated to the study and presentation of contemporary jewelry from around the world.

In 1997, Albright was named the first female Secretary of State and became, at that time, the highest ranking woman in the history of the U.S. government. While serving under President Bill Clinton, first as U.S ambassador to the United Nations, and then as Secretary of State, Albright became known for wearing brooches that purposefully conveyed her views about the situation at hand. “I found that jewelry had become part of my personal diplomatic arsenal,” Secretary Albright has said. “While President George H.W. Bush had been known for saying ‘Read my lips,’ I began urging colleagues and reporters to ‘Read my pins.’”

The collection that Secretary Albright cultivated is distinctive and democratic—sometimes demure and understated, sometimes outlandish and outspoken—spanning more than a century of jewelry design and including fascinating pieces from across the globe. The works on view are chosen for their symbolic value, and while some are fine antiques, many are costume jewelry. Read My Pins will explore the stories behind these works and their historical and artistic significance, and will be accompanied by a book, Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewel Box, published by HarperCollins.

“Secretary Albright’s approach to collecting focuses on the communicative value of jewelry, which often transcends its material worth,” said Holly Hotchner, the Museum’s Nanette L. Laitman Director. “The pins in this exhibition have all been used as non-traditional tools for political negotiation and personal expression. MAD is always looking for the back-story of art, exploring the many layers of context in which objects develop meaning. We are delighted to organize this first-time exhibition of her collection ten years after we presented Brooching It Diplomatically, a show of new pins created by contemporary artists. Two of those commissions are now in her personal collection, and will be exhibited in this show beside her other pins from across the world.”

Over the years, Secretary Albright’s pins became a part of her public persona, and they chart the course of an extraordinary journey, carving out a visual path through international and cultural diplomacy. A highlight of the exhibition will be the brooch that began Secretary Albright’s unusual use of pins as a tool in her diplomatic arsenal. After Saddam Hussein’s press referred to her as a serpent, Secretary Albright wore a golden snake brooch pinned to her suit for her next meeting on Iraq. Read My Pins will feature the famous snake brooch among many other pins with similar stories—some associated with important world events, others gifts from international leaders or valued friends. ......more

Photo: Liberty pin features two working watch faces - one is upside down so the wearer can use it. AP Photo via HuffingtonPost

Sneak Preview....
I recently purchased "Brooching It Diplomatically: a Tribute to Madelaine K. Albright" check my A Fly On The Wall Views & Reviews blog - and "Read My Pins" ASAP - review coming soon!
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