The White Necklace

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Object Name: 
The White Necklace
Accession Number: 
Estimate H: 274.3 cm, W: 55.9 cm, D: 14 cm
On Display
Web Description: 
Jean-Michel Othoniel is the most celebrated artist working in glass today in France. He has made sculptures, performances, and architecture out of an unlikely material: glass beads. Using large blown spheres rather than tiny seed beads, he has demonstrated how beads may participate in the larger context of contemporary art. With his necklaces hanging from the ceiling of a gallery or entwined in trees or wound around fountains, Othoniel presents decoration on a grand scale, while promoting beaded strands as a vehicle for sculptural form. The White Necklace, which consists of 51 blown, irregularly shaped lattimo glass beads, is one of a series of necklaces that Othoniel has presented in gallery and museum exhibitions around the world. Monochromatic or candy-colored, the necklaces are simply hung as a strand or twisted into the shape of a lasso, a knot, or an abstract form. Othoniel’s necklaces are seductive and beautiful, and in his work, the body, though unseen, is always suggested. “Glass has a memory,” he says. “If you harm molten glass by cutting into it, the glass will heal by remelting. However, once cooled, a scar will appear.” Glass is thus an appropriate material, and metaphor, for an object originally conceived to caress the human skin. Othoniel has installed his necklaces in such diverse locations as the trees of the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice, a fountain at the Alhambra in Granada, and the bamboo garden of the Villa Medici in Rome. His fantastic, chandelier-like metro station—titled Le Kiosque des noctambules (The kiosk of the sleepwalkers)—at the Palais Royal stop near the Louvre, has become a landmark in Paris. Unsigned. For more information, see Catherine Grenier, Othoniel, Paris: Centre Pompidou, 2010.
Sikkema Jenkins & Co., Source
Primary Description: 
White "lattimo" glass, blown and hotworked. 51 large, irregularly-shaped spherical beads, strung on steel cable and suspended from ceiling to hang 16-18 inches above the floor. Several extra "beads", and a device to assist in installation and deinstallation, come with the sculpture.
Corning Museum of Glass 2013-05-18 through 2014-01-05
For 30,000 years, mankind has crafted beads from natural materials. With the discovery of glassmaking in the second millennium B.C., glass began to be used for this same purpose. Glass beads are universal. They have been produced throughout the 35 centuries of glass manufacturing, and by nearly every culture in the world. The glass beads and beaded objects on view in this exhibition are arranged thematically, comparing the manner in which diverse cultures have utilized beads, frequently for the same purposes, but sometimes for unique reasons. These themes explore how glass beads adorn the body and our possessions; how they convey messages about power and wealth, and identify the stages of human life; how they serve ritual purposes, as well as decorate clothing and objects used in rituals; and how they have been employed across the centuries as a means of exchange, both commercial and cultural. Through the centuries, beads have been made using a variety of processes. Understanding how beads were made has allowed scholars to follow the transmission of beads and beadmaking techniques across the globe. Across time and around the world, glass beads have become a common element of mankind. Through their manufacture and function, they are one of the strings that bind humanity together. “Life on a String” celebrates this common bond while also revealing the distinctiveness of different societies through their use of glass beads to celebrate their unique cultural heritage.