M-O-P Button Necklace

  • Sondra Sherman, M-O-P Button Necklace, 1987, constructed mother-of-pearl, glass buttons, and iron wire, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Libby Cooper in memory of Lillian Bardfield, 2002.60

Luce Center Label

Sondra Sherman plays with traditional ideas of womanhood in M-O-P Button Necklace. The title refers to mother-of-pearl, the iridescent shell used in this piece. However, the necklace, its materials, and its title evoke different aspects of gender identity. Since jewelry is meant to ornament the body, the necklace triggers thoughts of ideal beauty, a concept reinforced by the fact that mother-of-pearl comes from the sea, the birthplace of Venus. The word "mother" in the name of the shell also refers to one role that women hold in family life, while the buttons and the initials for mother-of-pearl, which spells "mop," remind us of common domestic duties performed by housewives.

M-O-P Button Necklace
Not on view
11 1/2 x 4 1/4 x 1 in. (29.2 x 10.8 x 2.5 cm)
Credit Line

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Gift of Libby Cooper in memory of Lillian Bardfield

Mediums Description
constructed mother-of-pearl, glass buttons, and iron wire
Object Number
Linked Open Data
Linked Open Data URI

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