Metal Mettle 

If you're a lover of uncommon beauty and hip enough to live in Memphis, you're in luck. A staggeringly beautiful collection of more than 200 pieces of silver from the American Modernist movement has recently arrived at the Dixon Gallery and Gardens.

Modernism is characterized by such styles as Cubism, Art Deco, Dada, and Abstract. It was an attempt to redefine the world in a radical manner, because what was old was stagnant and what was new was therefore likely to be progressive and good. It seems like a simple idea, but from it we got such revolutionary things as skyscrapers, jazz, women's suffrage, and unrhymed poetry.

If you make it to the exhibit before it ends on July 15th, stop and look at the gorgeous Art Deco tea service by Jean G. Theobald and the disjointed candelabrum by Helen Hughes Dulany, both fine examples of the search for the new. My personal favorite, though, has to be the enameled silver cocktail shaker. Its black vertical stripes and decorative red accents will put you in mind of mixing your martini with the Chrysler Building.

"Modernism in American Silver," the dixon gallery and gardens, through July 15th. Go to www.dixon.org for more information.

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