August 22 2014

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2 posts tagged "Coomi Bhasin"

Gorgeous Gems and Raunchy Performance Art at the Whitney’s Spring Dinner



Curators, collectors, and friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art came together for its annual National Committee Spring Weekend to celebrate the 2014 Whitney Biennial exhibition, which openedthe first week of March. The cocktail and dinner was hosted by jeweler Coomi Bhasin, who’s best known for incorporating genuine historical artifacts into her intricate, dazzling designs. “We have pieces that are from art from the 15th century BCE, prehistoric beads, and arrowheads that are 20,000 years old,” she told “We buy these pieces from museum dealers and put them in our house, but we don’t adorn ourselves, so I thought, Why not? We are the best canvas in the world.”

Coomi’s gold-worked, sculptural jewelry for Spring and Fall …14 took over the museum’s entryway—diamonds and rubies glistened among Egyptian motifs, inspired antique ivory pendants, and floating Buddha heads. Whitney trustees and committee members from across the U.S., including the Biennial’s three curators, Stuart Comer, Anthony Elms, and Michelle Grabner, joined the designer for the seated dinner, which saw a special performance by Biennial artist Jacolby Satterwhite.

Satterwhite—outfitted in a metallic silver suit with video screens conceived as extended, bodily appendages—danced explicitly as partygoers dined. Digital avatars of the artist also played on a video backdrop in an ethereal dreamscape. “Today I was an extended-frame digital media queen. Fuck post-Internet, I’m here now,” he said. “I took the language out of my videos and gave you life today…I twerked on Michelle Grabner, I ate Scott Rothkopf, and I played piano on Dave McKenzie’s dick.” Needless to say, his performance was an interesting contrast to Coomi’s elegant gems.

The evening was one of the last for the committee’s reunion in the museum’s Madison Avenue building. (The Whitney moves to the Meatpacking District in Spring 2015.) “It’s always a little bittersweet,” Adam Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director, said, “but it’s great to be in a new home. It’s a great building for artists, the setting is fantastic, and while it’s a much bigger building, it also has a lot of integrity and intimacy with a great sense of outdoors and indoors. While they’ll miss this, they’ll be even more excited about the next thing…it’s like old loves and new loves.”

Photo: Matthew Carasella 

Coomi’s Ancient Accessories


“Anything I do tells a story,” says Coomi Bhasin, the designer behind the simultaneously luxe and brainy fine jewelry line, Coomi. Having launched in 2002, her previous collections have incorporated ancient Roman glass, or coins from the days of Alexander the Great. For fall, Bhasin’s one-of-a-kind rings, necklaces, and earrings combine diamonds, 20-karat gold, and arrowheads from the Paleolithic era. And the story she tells is one of evolution—both literal and artistic. “The skeleton is my favorite,” says Bhasin, referring to an arrowhead pendant she’s adorned with a gold and diamond iteration of Lucy—the oldest skeleton of human remains ever found on earth. “She’s very famous. And when her skeleton was found, there were some bones missing, so I recreated that,” offered Bhasin, adding that she’s embellished the back of the piece with three handprints, because handprints were “humans’ very first attempt at art.” Other highlights include arrowheads decorated with the skeleton of an ancient fish fossil, an interpretation of a bison cave drawing, and a deer running away from a slingshot—all done in diamonds, of course.

The collection will make its debut tomorrow during a luncheon at Christie’s. And Bhasin’s designs will be in good company—the event will also serve as an exclusive preview of the Impressionist and Modern masterpieces to be auctioned off at the auction house’s May 8th sale (think works from Matisse and Léger). “I’m a huge art collector, but what I wanted to show was that you don’t have to walk into Christie’s and only buy art for your wall,” said Bhasin, noting that she was honored to show her collection alongside Christie’s paintings. “The human body should be adorned with art, too. Your body is a temple. And it’s the best place to show off art.”

Coomi’s Fall 2013 collection ranges from $5,000 to $65,000 and will be available at Neiman Marcus.

Photo: Courtesy of Coomi