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NEWPORT, RI – The Newport Restoration Foundation is bringing two special exhibitions to its Rough Point galleries this year: Designing for Doris: David Webb Jewelry and Newport’s Architectural Gems and “To Preserve and Restore”: Newport Restoration Foundation at 50. This is the first instance of two different exhibitions being held simultaneously at Rough Point during the season, which runs from April 5 to November 11, 2018.
The first exhibition, Designing for Doris, is a collaboration between NRF and David Webb New York, jewelry designer to NRF’s founder, Doris Duke, and many other prominent figures from 1948 to the present. The exhibition highlights the parallels between seemingly dissonant archival materials: exacting hand-drawn architectural plans and painterly sketches of bespoke jewelry. Thirty drawings, several pieces of David Webb jewelry, and related artifacts occupy a single jewel box gallery, underscoring the breadth of Duke’s diverse interests and her transformative influence in art, design, and preservation from the late 1950s through the 1970s.
“These are beautiful drawings that are not often thought of as such because of their utilitarian origins,” says Margot Nishimura, Director of Museums at Newport Restoration Foundation and curator of the exhibition. Because they served originally as tools for experimenting with design solutions and visual communication – between designer, client, and crafts- or tradesmen – drawings like this are rarely shown as works of art.”
“But if you take the time to look closely,” Nishimura continues, “you begin to appreciate these drawings both for what they can tell us about the close personal role Doris Duke played in the work she commissioned and for the inherent beauty of the skillfully manipulated line, whatever the application.”
After learning about the varied design interests of Doris Duke, this year’s visitor to Rough Point travels back to 1968 – the year Duke founded the Newport Restoration Foundation. In “To Preserve and Restore”, visitors look back on 50 years of the organization’s history and are asked to think about its future. The exhibition focuses on three central themes/questions: What did Newport look like in 1968 and why was there a need for NRF? Who were the people who made it happen and how did the work of NRF change over time? And, whatdo the next 50 years look like for Newport and NRF? Visitors can expect to see a variety of archival documents, photographs, and objects that tell the story of NRF from the perspective of the people who made the organization what it is today.
“As NRF celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018, it is important to highlight the people and hard work done over the past 50 years,” said NRF’s Kristen Costa, curator of the exhibition. “The exhibition features what Newport looked like in 1968 and how the work of NRF and others in historic preservation restored and changed Newport’s appearance. NRF’s commitment to historic preservation has been possible because of the contributions of many, and their history is just as much a part of the fabric of historic preservation as the actual buildings. We also look to the public to imagine life in Newport 50 years into the future.”
Designing for Doris: David Webb Jewelry and Newport’s Architectural Gems and “To Preserve and Restore”: Newport Restoration Foundation at 50 will be on exhibit in the galleries at Rough Point starting Thursday, April 5, continuing through Sunday, November 11, 2018. Tickets for guided tours of Rough Point, which last approximately 75 minutes and include the exhibitions, are $25. Tickets for students with ID are $10 and free for children 12 and younger. Tours are offered Tuesday-Sunday, 9:30 am-3:30 pm (Saturday, 9:30 am – 2:00 pm). In addition, the galleries are open for self-guided visits during “Roam Around Rough Point” hours on Wednesdays, 5:00-7:00 pm, and Saturdays, 3:00-5:00 pm. Visit www.newportrestoration.org/roughpoint or call (401) 847-8344 for more information.
About the Newport Restoration Foundation
The Newport Restoration Foundation (NRF) is a non-profit organization established by philanthropist Doris Duke in 1968 to preserve the architectural and cultural heritage of 18th and 19th century Newport. NRF promotes economic and community restoration through historic preservation initiatives like Keeping History Above Water, which addresses the impact of sea-level rise on the built environment in the wake of climate change, and the Historic Trades Initiative, which harnesses the knowledge of local specialists to train the next generation of preservation craftspeople. In addition to a collection of more than 70 colonial houses, now rented to tenant stewards, NRF operates properties that are open to the public —including Rough Point, the Newport home of Doris Duke, and The Vernon House, a site of expansive storytelling, contemporary dialogue, and preservation trades skill-building.
NRF is on Facebook /NPTRestoration and Instagram @NPTRestoration. Visit newportrestoration.org for more information.