UMFA Docents Share ‘the Pendant Format’ in Power Couples Exhibition (Fall 2019)

Gladys Muren Webb, Docent, Utah Museum of Fine Arts

Docents at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah are excited to share the current UMFA exhibition Power Couples: The Pendant Format in Art, which is the first major exhibition devoted to a comprehensive look at the pendant format. A pendant is one of two works of art intended as a pair. Typically, each of the pairs are related thematically and are usually displayed next to each other.

The exhibition, curated largely from the UMFA’s dynamic collection of global art, includes an impressive variety of paintings, prints, sculptures, photographs and video art that can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages and with diverse interests. For example, the paired art includes landscapes, portraits, allegory, abstract art, and even pendant prints of kittens. The exhibition showcases artwork in pairs from the 1500s to contemporary Utah art.

Art placed side-by-side invites “close looking,” comparison, and conversation that lends itself to innovative and rewarding docent-led tours. To engage the visitor, the exhibition features hands on activities and interactive features such as a mirror that allows a visitor to complete the pair with their own reflection. There is a painting reproduction with moveable accessories, or, the visitor can dress up to create their own pendant.

UMFA Docent

Docents at UMFA have found that working with an exhibition of pendants creates opportunities for comparing not only the paired works with each other but with other pieces as well. Husband and wife pendants, for example, allow the docent to help visitors consider differences in time, place, and status revealed by clothing styles and furniture. Comparing and contrasting two works of art that are seemingly unrelated is another way that docents can work with pendants or, indeed, any two works of art. Questions like, “how is this landscape similar to or different from the portrait we just looked at?” can be challenging and engaging to visitors of all ages.

Leslie Anderson, UMFA’s curator of European, American and regional art is the Power Couples curator. The new exhibition will be on display through December 8, 2019. Curious? Come visit the Utah Museum of Fine Arts!

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