Behind the Scenes Museum Store

Art that You Wear


Santiago Calatrava-designed cases in the Milwaukee Art Museum Store


I’ll admit truly: one of my favorite pastimes is helping people pick out jewelry.  I’ll watch a person walking casually along the outside rim of the cases Santiago Calatrava designed for the Museum Store, and then I’ll see the double-take and the excitement in their eyes as they hold that special item in their view.  

I love the swoosh as the glass case opens and some beautiful piece is lifted and admired and often held out for the admiration of a friend.  Watching a person fall in love with an object while they anticipate all the events and outfits which the jewelry will illuminate is one pleasure, but seeing a gift giver imagine the delight of the recipient of that piece is an even greater pleasure.


Detail of a Susan Goodwin necklace


As someone who works in retail, I work long hours during the holidays—which is why I have determined to finally treat myself to a Susan Goodwin necklace this winter.  Fortunately, I have a few months left yet to make my choice: definitely a necklace, but will it be the long baubly strand that I can loop around my neck? Or the short, supremely delicate chain with the fine twisted wire studded with pearls and crystals?  Oooh–or the thick multi-strand of tiny pearls that still somehow manages to look edgy despite its very classic form?

Another jewelry artist featured in the cases who hits that perfect for every age, classic/punk/glamorous mark is Alexis Bittar. I think his designs are so popular for gifts because there is zero chance a woman is going to open a box nestling a luminescent Bittar piece and not gasp (the more excitable among us might squeal) with wonder and delight.


Alexis Bittar Pendant


He is quite “top secret” about the details of how he makes Lucite glow from within, but I assure you, it isn’t a trick of the light!

Well-deservedly, Alexis Bittar won the Accessory Designer of the Year at the Council for Fashion Designers Awards gala this year—competing against well-established artists such as Marc Jacobs and the guys at Proenza Schouler.

Donele Pettit organizes events, promotions and communications specific to the Milwaukee Art Museum Store and loves to introduce art and design objects for visitors to take home and enjoy in their daily lives.

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