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Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection at the IMA

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that’s the case, then 3D images studded with diamonds should be worth at least a million words. Throughout Madeleine Albright’s political career, she has used pins to convey subtle messages about policies, peace talks, and diplomatic discussions. The former Secretary of State and United States Ambassador to the United Nations has hundreds of pins in her collection, some of them whimsical, some of them deadly serious, all of them with a purpose and a history. Now, Indianapolis residents will get the chance to see Madeleine Albright’s many pins and brooches in person at the Indianapolis Museum of Art with their new exhibit, Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection. The exhibit opened on November 7, 2010 and will run through January 30, 2011, so you’ve still got some time to take a look at the pins that gave some sparkle to U.S. politics during the 90’s.

CBS News video interview with Madeleine Albright about her pins, her new book, and a look at the New York version of Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection, an exhibit that will be at the Indianapolis Museum of Art until January 30, 2011

 

The Czech born diplomat began her American political career in 1993, when she became the 20th U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. It was during Albright’s time with the United Nations that she first began wearing her ubiquitous pins. After the Gulf War, the United States imposed sanctions on Iraq, and Albright had criticized Saddam Hussein for his refusal to allow weapons inspectors into the country. The Iraqi press retaliated by running a poem which called Albright an “unparalleled serpent.” In an interview with the New Yorker in 2009, Albright said “I had this snake pin, so I thought it would be really fun to wear it when we did Iraq things.” The pin, a golden serpent wrapped around a golden branch, was a huge hit. That first pin’s success encouraged Albright to buy more, and the rest is history.

Video of Madeleine Albright discussing the snake pin that started it all; Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection will be at the Indianapolis Museum of Art until January 30, 2011

 

Over 200 of Madeleine Albright’s pins are on display at the Indianapolis museum through January 30, 2011. Everything from costume jewelry to family heirlooms to gifts from foreign diplomats are present, and each pin in the collection has a history and was chosen with a specific purpose in mind. Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection gets its name from a memorable quote of Albright’s. “While President H. W. Bush had been known for saying ‘Read my lips,’ I began urging colleagues and reporters to ‘read my pins.” While most casual observers won’t be able to place the majority of the pins in the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s collection, several are instantly recognizable, including the Liberty Brooch, which was made specifically for Albright.

Video interview with Madeleine Albright about her myriad of pins; Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection will be at the Indianapolis Museum of Art until January 30, 2011

 

If you’d like to learn more about Madeleine Albright’s pins on display in downtown Indianapolis, you can visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s gift shop after your tour of the exhibit to purchase a signed copy of Albright’s book, Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewelry Box for $40. This book is an illustrated memoir of Madeleine Albright’s life through the myriad of pins she wore. The pins on display at the Indianapolis Museum of Art are present in the book, and a quick glance through will give you context on the hundreds of brooches and pins in the exhibit. Curious how her rocket propelled grenade pin was used? Want to see who designed and manufactured that beautiful swooping bluebird? Read My Pins: Stories from a Diplomat’s Jewelry Box will answer all your questions and assuage your curiosity about these historic pieces of jewelry.

Video of Madeleine Albright receiving a custom designed pin; Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection will be at the Indianapolis Museum of Art until January 30, 2011

 

Organized by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City, Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection is a unique look at the history of the United States and one of the most respected American diplomats. Over 200 beautiful pins and brooches are on display at this Indianapolis attraction. The majority of the pins are costume jewelry, but some are one of a kind works of art, and all hold special significance in United States history. From the four inch interceptor missile she wore when meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister to the golden snake that started it all, the jewelry on display at Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection are all “gentle implements of statecraft.”

Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection at the Indianapolis Museum of Art
November 7, 2010 through January 30, 2011 @ IMA’s European Galleries
Tickets: $5/public, FREE for IMA Members
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Indianapolis Museum of Art
4000 Michigan Rd
Indianapolis, IN 46208
317.923.1331
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