Graphite Pendulum-Pendant

  • Joan Parcher, Graphite Pendulum-Pendant, 1994, graphite, sterling silver, and stainless steel, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase through the Renwick Acquisitions Fund, 1995.12

Parcher’s neckpiece invites us to reconsider the relationship between jewelry and the body we often take for granted. The minimalist pendant features a single piece of lathe-turned graphite, rather than precious stones. Its understated elegance masks the artist’s subversive intent. When worn, the wearer’s movements cause the graphite to swing gently, leaving its mark.

Connections: Contemporary Craft at the Renwick Gallery, 2019

In Graphite Pendulum-Pendant, Joan Parcher reminds the viewer that one person’s trash is another’s treasure. Instead of traditional gemstones or precious metals, the artist uses materials gathered from a dump. Her works challenge the notion of preciousness and the tradition of jewelry as ornament. The pendant sways on the wearer’s body, smearing a dark stain across the chest and making the wearer a part of the artwork. The piece continually disintegrates as the material scrapes the surface of the clothing, shattering our idea of jewelry as a precious heirloom.

Graphite Pendulum-Pendant
13 128 121 12 in. (34.321.63.8 cm.)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Museum purchase through the Renwick Acquisitions Fund

Mediums Description
graphite, sterling silver, and stainless steel
  • Dress – accessory – jewelry
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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