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Art Smith (American, 1923–1982), Positive / Negative Neckpiece, brass, about 1948.Gallery 34
African American artist Art Smith made jewelry that was seemingly simple, but was often inspired by symbols of West African tribal jewelry. The solid half of this necklace actually replicates jewelry worn by the Asante court of Ghana. Smith’s creations are also unusually large due to his belief that the body should act as a support for displaying jewelry. In addition, he had a background in designing stage jewelry for black dance companies, which needed to be large in order to be seen from a distance.
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