Power Couples: The Pendant Format in Art on view at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA)

A pair of iconic tabletop seasonings. Secret lovers. Well-heeled newlyweds. Gothic churches. Iconic landscapes. Kittens.

Meet the Power Couples and discover pendants—works of art conceived as pairs—in a new exhibition on view now at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA). Power Couples: The Pendant Format in Art explores how timeless pairings from sixteenth-century Europe to contemporary Utah illuminate of-the-moment ideas.

“Artists adopted pendants to push the physical and conceptual boundaries of storytelling. It remains a popular format for this reason,” said Leslie Anderson, curator of European, American, and regional art. Anderson conceived and organized the exhibition, the first of its kind devoted to a comprehensive look at the pendant format and the artistic strategies at play in such works.

Drawing chiefly from the Museum’s dynamic collection, Power Couples explores how artists have used the pendant format across media, cultures and time periods to explore gender roles and social status; to present moments of before-and-after, cause-and-effect and departure-and-return; and to compare and contrast familiar stories and ideas. Visitors are encouraged to engage with these concepts through a variety of in-gallery experiences.

The exhibition features new acquisitions, perennial favorites and rarely seen, recently conserved objects of European, American and Asian art as well as select loans from other museums in a variety of mediums: paintings, etchings, prints, sculpture, photographs and video art.

The exhibition opened July 11 and is on view through Sunday, December 8.

Support for Power Couples is provided by curatorial sponsor Marriner S. Eccles Foundation and conservation sponsor Ann K. Stewart Docent Conservation Fund.

Entrance to Power Couples is included in the price of general admission. Admission is free the first Wednesday and third Saturday of each month. See umfa.utah.edu/visit for details.

Programming sponsor: Carolyn & Kem Gardner

Third Saturday for Families: Duo Paintings
Saturday, July 20 | 1–4 pm | Emma Eccles Jones Education Center Classroom | FREE program and Museum admission
Make your own power couple with mini canvases and paint.

Open Studio: Power Couples
Wednesday, August 7 | 6 pm | FREE program and Museum admission
A drop-in art exploration program for adults.

Curator Talk | Leslie Anderson
Wednesday, August 21 | 7 pm | Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke Jr. Auditorium
FREE lecture | Museum admission $5 after 5 pm
Learn about the artistic strategies and themes explored in the pendant format.

Performers TBD
Wednesday, September 18 | 7 pm
Free with admission
Let the music inform your viewing, and let the artwork inform your listening.

Power Couples Symposium
Friday, October 4 | 9 am–5 pm | Katherine W. and Ezekiel R. Dumke Jr. Auditorium
Scholars present new research on pairs in the visual arts, literature, music and other disciplines. Keynote speaker: Wendy Ikemoto, curator, New-York Historical Society.

Website: umfa.utah.edu/power-couples

Kerry James Marshall (American, b. 1955) Diptych Color Blind Test, 2003,
acrylic paint on MDF panels, 36 x 48 in., on loan from the Denver Art Museum