Lisa Gralnick
Scene of the Crime

March 2nd - April 15th, 2018

Opening reception, Friday March 2nd, 5-9 PM, open to the public

For most of my lifetime, I have been obsessed with old murder mysteries-- from Perry Mason to Agatha Christie to Sherlock Holmes-- and the ubiquitous use of jewelry as the MacGuffin that allows the plot to unfold. Jewelry as the ultimate symbol of wealth, entitlement, status, and beauty, becomes transformed into an instrument of sinister intent, an embodiment of the darkness lurking behind the most polished facade of gentility and noblesse oblige.

For centuries, nothing has trumped the pearl necklace as the icon of conservative good taste, restraint, and respectability. Byzantine and Renaissance paintings of royalty wearing pearl necklaces fill the wall of museums, and it has become the accessory of choice amongst contemporary women politicians and political wives. Barbara Bush will forever be pictured wearing her always tasteful strand of pearls. But it seems that we have descended to new lows in terms of our need to impart respectability on questionable political figures, and that the pearl necklace may indeed be broken, and, as in an old whodunit, represent the scene of the crime.


Lisa Gralnick is a metalsmith, ceramics artist, and studio jeweler who is currently a professor of Art at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Gralnick has said about her practice ”I have chosen to make jewelry, which is traditionally considered 'craft', and I do enjoy the processes and techniques that allow me to execute my work without technical faults. But 'craft' is only a means to an end for me, as it is for many artists. My desire to push the limits of jewelry and expand on them, to comment on its traditions and associations, is more the concern of any artist."

Gralnick has had a career as an artist that has spanned more than three decades, and has received grants, fellowships, and awards for her work from institutions such as the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Wisconsin Arts Board, and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Gralnick's works have been acquired by museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. Her work is also included in the collection of the Chazen Museum at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.