Pieces of Las Vegas can be found halfway across the world in Medusa, Jewelry and Taboos, now on display at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris until November 5. The exhibit brings together more than 400 pieces of jewelry from historic brands such as Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels (plus anonymous artifacts with even longer histories)—and many of the featured items are famed pieces from the Liberace Jewels Collection.
“The size and audacity of the Liberace jewels changed showmanship and jewelry forever,” says Jonathan Warren, chairman of the Las Vegas-based Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts, which partnered with the French museum to provide the iconic entertainer’s accessories. The Foundation maintains the Liberace Museum Collection at what was once Michael Jackson’s Las Vegas residence, where the pianist’s legacy lives on through his fashions, automobiles and other memorabilia.
Among the Liberace artifacts featured in Medusa, Jewelry and Taboos is one of the performer’s rings, embellished with a miniature diamond-encrusted candelabra. You can imagine it glistening in the spotlight as Liberace’s fingers danced over a baby grand’s keys while he played for the tens of millions of viewers of The Liberace Show.
“Jewelry creates an attraction or repulsion for the one who stares at it, wears it or makes it, as does the face of Medusa,” explains Anne Dressen, the exhibit’s curator. Also like the legend of Medusa, the legacy of Liberace lives on—now in physical form at a major museum in Paris.
Medusa, Jewelry and Taboos
Through November 5, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, mam.paris.fr/en