May 25, 2018
Colloquium Speaker: Elyse Zorn Karlin
Elyse Zorn Karlin is a journalist, freelance museum curator, and a jewelry historian.
A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, her love of antique jewelry began in her teens. She has combined her education and her passion as the Co-Director of the Association for the Study of Jewelry & Related Arts, editor of Adornment Magazine, and as a freelance curator of museum exhibitions. She has authored seven books and written extensively for a number of publications.
Ms. Karlin has lectured at venues including The Neue Galerie in New York City, The Sandwich Glass Museum in Massachusetts, NYU, the Dixon Museum and Gardens in Tennessee, The Taft Museum in Ohio, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Driehaus Museum in Chicago, and for many other groups and institutions.
In 2013 Ms. Karlin conceived of and curated the exhibition “Out of this World! Jewelry in the Space Age” which debuted at the Forbes Galleries, New York City, and then traveled to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh.
The exhibition looked at the history of jewelry related to space observation and exploration beginning as early as the early 19th century with the return of Haley’s comet. It touched upon jewelry influenced by Sputnik’s launch and the entire space race. Featured was jewelry made from materials used in and on spacecraft, materials that come from space used to make jewelry (meteorites, tetktites, pallasites), and contemporary jewelry with space themes which is still very much on jewelers’ minds today.
Also in the exhibition was a one-of-a-kind necklace by Van Cleef and Arpels based on the Jules Verne novel “To the Moon and Back” which amazingly anticipated (in 1865) spaceship launches from Florida. One of the three replicas of the Lunar Landing Module made entirely in gold for Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, and Neil Armstrong was also on view. Jewelry that was flown in space was on view as well as the West Point ring worn by Ed White, the first astronaut to walk in space, who died in the tragic fire in a pre-launch test in 1967 for what was to have been the Apollo 1 mission.
Space-related memorabilia from the 1920s as well as the ways in which space influenced design of all kinds in the 1950s and 60s and beyond is part of the story and is included in this lecture. Even APL memorabilia made an appearance in the exhibition!