Baroque to Bling explores a distinct world of bold fine art fashion, and design objects — all linked by the eye of a spirited collector, Donna MacMillan. Drawn from museum's gifts and Loans from MacMillan's exuberant collection, the exhibition shows how artists incorporate embeLLishment and indulge in excess in their contemporary practice. From cutting-edge art to lavish jewelry, the works offer contemporary interpretations of the baroque, a term that brings to mind Lavishly ornamentaL design, elaborate aesthetics, and the theatrical.
If the baroque suggests excess, bling is that final, often glittery, enhancement that brings a sense of wonder to the viewer. MacMillan’s collecting sensibility emphasizes a keen awareness of the joyful play between structure and surface, form and finish, glitter and polish, and ultimately — resonance and wonder. The exhibition includes objects that both engage the mind and delight the viewer while emphasizing the rich decorative practices that artists undertake today.
Indeed, many artists, such as Ryan McGinness and Tim Horn, directly turn to the histories and sensibilities of European decorative arts from heraLdic symbols to baroque approaches to design. Others, such as Ann Hamilton's intricate hair-embroidered necklace, take the heavily ornamental approach of the centuries-old baroque era to grotesque heights.