Spend a day at Bard Graduate Center! Join us for a tour of the exhibition A View from the Jeweler’s Bench: Ancient Treasures, Contemporary Statements with curator Sasha Nixon followed by a panel discussion featuring Nixon; decorative arts scholar Levi Higgs; jewelers Gabriella Kiss and Mary Hallam Pearse; and jewelry historian Bella Neyman of New York City Jewelry Week. Then get your hands on some jewels courtesy of Sienna Patti Contemporary.


11 am
Exhibition tour with curator Sasha Nixon

12 pm
Jewelry Recoded: Adornment, Desire, and Subversion

A Conversation with Levi Higgs, Mary Hallam Pearse, Gabriella Kiss, and Sasha Nixon moderated by Bella Neyman.

1:30 pm
Show and Tell with gallerist Sienna Patti

Gallerist Sienna Patti will select works from her stable of contemporary jewelers, taking inspiration from themes discussed in A View from the Jeweler’s Bench: Ancient Treasures, Contemporary Statements.

Levi Higgs is a decorative arts and jewelry historian based in New York City. He holds a master’s degree in the history of decorative arts and design from Parsons, The New School, in conjunction with the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. He is the archivist and social media manager at David Webb, an American heritage jewelry house, and he writes on jewelry and decorative arts for the Daily Beast. He spoke on a panel at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Jewelry Icons of New York in early 2019. His glittering day-to-day can be found on Instagram at @levi_higgs.

Gabriella Kiss
is a jeweler born in Canada and raised in central New Jersey. She studied sculpture at Pratt Institute and upon graduating worked for jeweler Ted Muehling for eight years who served as a mentor, friend and inspiration. Gabriella has lived and worked in the Hudson Valley since 1997. Her work is informed by nature, art history, humor and the human condition. She is drawn to the implications and paradoxes of scale and the notion that a whole world can exist in a detail.

Bella Neyman
is the co-founder of New York City Jewelry Week, a city-wide celebration of jewelry held annually in November. She is also an independent curator and writer specializing in contemporary art jewelry. Exhibitions that Bella has organized have been on view in the United States and Europe. She is currently working on an exhibition, 45 Stories in Jewelry, which will open at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York in February 2020. Bella’s articles on decorative arts, fashion and jewelry have appeared in the New York Times, MODERN Magazine, Metalsmith, American Craft and The Magazine Antiques among others. From 2014-2018, she was the director of the Gallery at Reinstein|Ross, a New York-based gallery specializing in contemporary jewelry. Bella has been on the Board of the Art Jewelry Forum since 2013. She lives with her husband and daughter in Brooklyn, NY.

Sasha Nixon
is a curator, historian, and practicing metalsmith. She specializes in the study of contemporary art jewelry, particularly on how individual artists are influenced by ancient and historical jewelry styles and techniques. She was the Center for Craft’s 2018 Windgate curatorial intern at the Museum of Arts and Design and is co-curator of MAD’s exhibition Fake News and True Love: Fourteen Stories by Robert Baines (October 2018–March 2019). She is currently co-curating the exhibition ANTIQUEMANIA, presented at Pratt Manhattan during the inaugural New York City Jewelry Week (November 12–18, 2018). Nixon presented her paper “Pixels Bejeweled: Modern Media, Contemporary Jewelry, and the Replication of Desire” at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s international symposium Digital Meets Handmade: Jewelry in the 21st Century in May 2018. That paper and “In the Studio: Lin Cheung,” written for Metalsmith magazine will be published later this year.

Sienna Patti
opened her gallery in Lenox, Massachusetts in 1999, specializing in contemporary jewelry. The artists she represents, who pay attention to both concept and craft, are in many museum collections, including the Met, the Louvre (Paris), Victoria and Albert (London), MOMA NY, LACMA, the Smithsonian, the Museum of Fine Art, Houston; the Museum of Fine Art, Boston, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A go-to expert on artist made jewelry from the mid 20th century to the present, Patti is an advisor to many public and private collections. Patti is the current co-Chair of Art Jewelry Forum.

Mary Hallam Pearse
examine forms, uses, and meanings of the objects in an effort to build bridges between studio craft, technology, design and art. She seeks to critique material culture, simultaneously blurring boundaries between jewelry, art and design. Furthermore, her interests include how jewelry has functioned historically as a marker of status, class wealth, and a record of human experience. Mary received her M.F.A in Metal from SUNY New Paltz and a B.F.A in Jewelry+Metals from Kent State University. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include Wordsmith/Metalsmith: Text in Contemporary Jewelry at Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island and Sieraad: International Contemporary Jewellery Fair in Amsterdam. Mary has taught workshops at Anderson Ranch, 92nd Street Y, Kent State University, Humboldt State, East Carolina University and University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

This Study Day was organized by Bard Graduate Center and New York City Jewelry Week.