Kiff Slemmons‘ neckpiece Circumspect (2003) is an object that does what it is and is what it does. Composed of lenses and mirrors collected and categorized for a purpose that the collecting itself reveals, it is both a tool of taxonomic assessment and a record of a taxonomic class of useful and evocative things.
Denying the role of jewelry as something only to be looked at, it meets and counters the gaze — returning agency to those being seen. It also asks us to emulate what it facilitates: the art of careful looking as a way of understanding.
Photographed in the Museum of Arts and Design in Manhattan.