PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston May 2022

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designers. That, to me, speaks not only of his own curiosity but also how he cared about sparking other people's curiosity. The curatorial team did a great job piecing this together. We know certain things because Louis Cartier was listed as the lender. Islamic art installations like the 1903 Paris and 1910 Munich exhibitions inspired Louis to personally collect. In the 1912 Paris exhibition of Persian miniatures, works shown in these early exhibitions are presented again, but now ascribed as part of Louis' personal art collection. The zeitgeist of this time. SS: It started with a 1903 exhibition in Paris and a 1910 exhibition in Munich, which marked the shift to the rise of the discipline of Islamic art, moving away from the concept of orientalizing. This is how Louis became exposed to Islamic art. In that moment, there was a total fascination in Paris; the zeitgeist became the Ballets Russes and the ballet Schéhérazade, which is a modernized version of One Thousand and One Nights. You can tell there was a Persian-mania. I think Louis was interested in the content and what that meant, and in the Islamic form. Jacques was more adventurous. He loved to travel and showed a tremendous acumen for pearls and precious stones. He did a big trip in 1911 when he went to India and Bahrain and came back with photos for the archive, as well as stones and pearls and jewelry. There were exhibitions that went to New York and Boston that were mixtures of historic Indian jewelry and more contemporized versions. You begin to see that the language in Cartier catalogs changing from presenting to adopting to transforming. They moved from restringing jewels to modernizing, then finessing the jewels while keeping elements of the original. Emblematic object for you. SS: I love the bandeau that's coral and onyx (Cartier, Paris, 1922), because it's a little piece of architecture worn on your head. It was constructed with the same care and craft in which the mosques were constructed in the past. It's so modern, and the color combination and that sleekness … It's very cool from the back, too, because it's pinned to a tortoiseshell comb. Exhibition challenges. SS: How to make the richness of diversity of material come alive. We need to think about what connections people are going to make, and how they're going to interpret a tiny plaster cast or a brooch. What we're trying to set up — and what will be magical — is that people will engage with and look for different motifs or forms. There are so many ways to see this exhibition. Something I've been craving from being on lockdown for so long is to see things. To explore ideas through actual objects, to see the three- dimensionality of these things — when things get flattened, they are perceived one way. What happens when you take columns from architecture and try to imagine them on a tiara. How do you shrink it down? It's very interesting on many different levels. Cartier was an early globalist. SS: I love the idea: how things move across scale and material and time. You're drawing threads from architecture to a tiara. Things can connect in the most interesting ways. You could take the outline of a finial, and that gets twisted and shaped into the way a handle is made or a small detail on a little brooch. To me, it's continuing to expand the possibility for people. I will say, as with every project, there is still much left to unpackage — we pushed the narrative forward, but there's still so much to uncover. Parting thoughts. SS: It was fun with the four of us, because each curator had a unique perspective. At the DMA, we expanded our thinking because MAD is a decorative arts museum; we are more than just that. I think it's important to think about the role museums play. The idea of saying to yourself: 'Wow, here we are 100- plus years later, showing the same object that was shown in 1903.' It's exciting for me to show these things again, and to hope and wonder what will come out of this exhibition. It's been an incredible project about collaboration — collaborating with other curators, collaborating with Cartier and with other institutions, and then to collaborate with exhibition designer Elizabeth Diller and her team at Diller Scofidio + Renfro. "Cartier and Islamic Art: In Search of Modernity," at the Dallas Museum of Art, May 14 – September 18; The Cartier conversation continues at (Continued from page 28) CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: CARTIER ARCHIVES, PARIS © CARTIER. © THE CECIL BEATON STUDIO ARCHIVE AT SOTHEBY'S. PHOTO NILS HERRMANN, CARTIER COLLECTION © CARTIER. Louis Cartier's portrait by Emile Friant, 1904 Bandeau, Cartier Paris, 1922 Tui Frui designer, Cartier's Jeanne Toussaint, Paris, late 1950s 30

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