Sculpture To Wear gallery is a place to explore the legacy of wearable art. To understand the concept, we return to its origins: The first owner, Joan Sonnabend, presented only jewelry by fine established artists such as Alexander Calder, Man Ray, Pablo Picasso, Jean Arp, and Louise Nevelson. Sonnabend also launched the career of Robert Lee Morris, who opened the iconic Artwear store and has traversed various genres of fine, studio, fashion, and costume jewelry in his illustrious 50-year career. According to writer Gloria Lieberman, “Sculpture To Wear was responsible for the creation of a market for artists-made studio jewelry in the United States.” Today, Sculpture To Wear is honored to continue that legacy with presentations of eclectic works in metal, textiles, and unexpected and recycled materials.
Founded in the Plaza Hotel, in New York City, in 1973, Sculpture To Wear (phase 2) is now headquartered on the West Coast. The inaugural exhibition, which took place at Bergamot Station Arts Center in January 1999 and was called Structural Integrity—Jewelry’s Foundation, coincidentally opened across from an art show called Man Ray in LA. It seemed the original ideology of art on the body by artists (not just jewelers) was again a theme, reinvigorated by the new owner, Lisa M. Berman. Where magazine added to the enthusiasm by publishing, “There’s Tiffany and Cartier and then… there’s Sculpture To Wear.”
For the past 21 years, the gallery has curated and hosted a full spectrum of multiple exhibitions each year with either thematically or geographically based shows, often with accompanying catalogs. Collaborations with other galleries, institutions, film, and media are key to the gallery’s continued success—and it’s now part of Berman Arts Agency, operating from Laguna Beach, in Southern California. Placement of jewelry into important private collections and fine art museums is impactful for artists and collectors, underscoring studio jewelry’s indelible contribution as an acceptable art form. The gallery has placed pieces into the Smithsonian, MAD, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Getty, and films and publications.
Sculpture To Wear’s mission is to propel the legacy of wearable art through education, inspiration, and promotion, and to encourage people to wear art—give people something to talk about!
Lisa M. Berman, the proprietor of Sculpture To Wear gallery, is known as an ambassador of wearable art. Her expertise extends to major markets, museums, and corporations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Asia, and Europe. Based in Southern California, Berman has served on the board of governors for Otis College of Art and Design, as public relations chair for the Fashion Council at LACMA, and on the museum collection board at Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She was recently appointed to the advisory board of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Renée C. Byer’s nonprofit, Positive Change Can Happen. Berman volunteers for projects supporting wearable art/studio jewelry, Free Arts for Abused Children, and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) projects. Berman recently collaborated with sculptor and ArtPrize winner Daniel Oropeza to launch the six-acre Oropeza Sculpture Garden at the Nursery by SouthWinds in Irvine, CA, which also hosts an atelier for Sculpture To Wear.