Think Twice: New Latin American Jewelry

The non-traditional materials and motifs make for more interesting pieces in this large survey show, which includes 130 works. Here and there we see old socks, worthless paper currency, the highway debris collected off a car bumper (!), and old bullet casings. There's not much silver or gold employed, perhaps because of those materials' colonial legacy. It was for treasure, after all, that Spanish and Portuguese explorers arrived with their guns, smallpox, horses, and dreams of El Dorado. Billions' worth in previous metals were sent back to Europe; and the natives worked as slaves in the South American mines. Politics are felt, too, as in Maria Constanza Ochoa's Soft Black and White, shaped like a cluster of balloons that a drug mule might use to smuggle cocaine across the border (or sea) to the U.S. and Europe. The funniest object is an oversized hip-hop necklace, a platinum plantain, that suggests both Warhol and Run-DMC. Strangely, there are no traces of the modern world here: no transistors or chips or iPhone accessories or BlueTooth earpieces. It seems that the 88 artists represented here are still chewing over Latin America's fraught, complicated past. BRIAN MILLER

Fridays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Tuesdays-Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Starts: May 26. Continues through Oct. 16, 2011

 
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