June 2014

Shift Exhibition and Zoom Symposium

Since 2005, AJF has been funding catalogs and exhibitions as part of its aim to advocate for contemporary art jewelry through education, appreciation, and support for the field. AJF believes that exhibitions and catalogs are an essential part of the contemporary art jewelry infrastructure, by documenting history, fostering curatorial skills, providing opportunities for writing about contemporary art […]

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F-1: Curated by Bella Neyman & Ruta Reifen

Ruta Reifen and Bella NeymanDesign historian Bella Neyman and Israeli jewelry artist Ruta Reifen recently launched Platforma, a curatorial initiative to bring art jewelry to a wider audience and give it the same respect that contemporary painting, sculpture, and design enjoy. Its inaugural exhibition, F-1, recently on view at Brooklyn Metal Works in Brooklyn, New York, is named for the visa that all foreigners must procure to study in the United States. The exhibition showcases 10 artists from eight countries whose work combines the methodologies taught in the United States with the cultural references and art traditions they identify with from home. Here Bonnie Levine speaks with Bella and Ruta about Platforma and F-1.

Bonnie Levine: Platforma is a newly established curatorial initiative established by the two of you. Can you tell us about itwhat is its mission and why did you feel the need to start it?

Bella Neyman: Platforma was launched over a cup of coffee last summer. Ruta and I both wanted to create a new venue through which to show art jewelry and, like everyone else in this business, we want to get in front of young collectors. Artists, especially emerging ones, need the support of clients to survive and we want to play a role in helping the field grow and prosper. Our mission is to breathe new life into the field through pop-up exhibitions and events and amass a following that will be interested in what we have to say and in the work that we are showing. As we do not have a permanent space, we feel like we can take chances and experiment with what we are showing and how we choose to show it. Furthermore, as we want to entice young collectors to fall in love with art jewelry we also want to try to educate them. 


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Robert Smit: Golden Ring of Honor

Otto Künzli and Robert SmitRobert Smit was awarded the Golden Ring of Honor this year, which places him in the Pantheon of great contemporary jewelers. It was given in recognition of his dedication and brilliance in making jewelry, drawings, and paintings over many years. This year, the ring was made by Otto Künzli, who was the last recipient of the Ring of Honor. Otto’s design is quite amusing. Rosemarie Jäger gave Robert a reception at her gallery to mark this occasion. Robert is a prolific and thoughtful artist who has strong opinions that guide his process. It was a pleasure to have the privilege of interviewing him. 

For further recent publications about Robert Smit, you can read Liesbeth den Besten’s article in Metalsmith, v.33, n.5, 2013, and the catalog published by Padova, Musei Civici agli Eremitani, on the occasion of this year’s show, called Esoteric Revelations.

Susan Cummins: Congratulations! You were just awarded the Golden Ring of Honor 2014 by the Association for Goldsmiths’ Art in Hanau, Germany. This recognition is a great honor. What is the history of this 41 year-long tradition? And how do you feel about getting it?

Robert Smit: The tradition was started in 1933, so it is already 81 years old! In the beginning, the Golden Ring of Honor was given every year up until 1957. In 1960 it was changed to every 3 years. The first years it took place in Berlin. Then in 1947 it moved to Hamburg, because the Gesellschaft für Goldschmiedekunst had to move out from Berlin. For the last 29 years, the meetings and presentations of the award have taken place in Hanau. See the list of Ehrenringträger (Carriers of the honorary ring) at the end of the interview. 


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Lost in Legnica

Legnica Jewellery Festival SILVER April 22–June 8, 2014 The Gallery of Art in Legnica, Legnica, Poland Before I embarked from Edinburgh, Scotland, via Berlin, for Legnica (pronounced Leg’nitsa), Poland, a university colleague quipped, “Break a Legnica.”[1] At the time it made me laugh. I don’t know if you are familiar with the expression, understand the

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Lena Olson: Close to Me

Lena OlsonLena Olson has been an independent jewelry artist since graduating from HDK School of Design and Crafts in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1996, working with wood as her primary material. Her current show, Close To Me, at Platina in Stockholm, Sweden, is the result of a year-long research project where she examined the placement of jewelry on the body as a physical place and the personal relationship we have with the pieces of jewelry we choose to wear. Here she talks with Bonnie Levine about the show and her life as maker, teacher, and original collaborator behind the Hnoss Initiative in Sweden.

Bonnie Levine: Tell me about your background. How did you become interested in making jewelry?

Lena Olson: I always wanted to be an artist, and enjoy working in three dimensions and with tools. Hard materials and small things were also attractive, so jewelry just seemed natural. I was lucky to have an encouraging teacher who knew about HDK, the School of Design and Crafts in Gothenburg. Since about the age of 12 my goal was to be accepted there at the metal department. After some years in different preparatory art schools, I was actually more into sculpturing, so it was a rather crucial choice to make. I am happy I saw the possibilities of jewelry as sculptures connected to the body even then. 


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Deedie Rose

Sally Marsland, Necklace, 2013, polyurethane resin, 457.2 x 101.6 x 25.4 mm, photo: Jeremy Dillon Susan Cummins: Deedie, I understand that you’re part of a group of collectors that are coordinating efforts to build a strong contemporary art collection for the Dallas Museum of Art. Can you describe how that got started and how that

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30 Years West: Sandra Enterline and Valerie Mitchell

Sandra Enterline and Valerie MitchellSandra Enterline and Valerie Mitchell are old friends. Both attended Rhode Island School of Design and drove across the country together after graduation. They stayed in California and so called this show 30 Years West. For the past 30 years, they have shown together, vacationed together, exchanged ideas, and generally remained an important element in each other’s lives. Their show at Gravers Lane Gallery in Philadelphia seemed like a good time to catch up with both of them.

Susan Cummins: Did you discover you were a jeweler while you were attending Rhode Island School of Design, or did you know before that? Please tell the story of how you became a jeweler. Did you grow up on the east coast? Where?

Valerie Mitchell: I was born in Hollywood, California, where my dad Victor was shop foreman at the established Allan Adler Silversmiths. At age six, we moved east by train, and I grew up in Bristol, Connecticut. My genetic influence was increased by the curiosity of odd jewelry parts, stones, and hand tools stored in an old workbench in our basement my dad infrequently used. My first jewelry lesson was the summer after receiving my BFA, followed by other area workshops. In 1977, I moved to the Hartford, Connecticut art community, where I developed as an artist, utilizing jewelry as a sculptural, wearable expression while a member of Artworks Gallery. I had a one-person show titled Jewelry from my Environment at the nonprofit downtown space and also a four-person exhibition called City Limits of work inspired by visuals from my urban environ at the Old State House Gallery. My training was minimal but my artistic energy strong. Five years later, I decided to be serious about my training as an artist and craftsperson and chose RISD and Providence for my MFA in light metals.  


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The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk October 25, 2013–February 23, 2014, Brooklyn, New York, USA Brooklyn Museum, curated by Thierry-Maxime Loriot of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in collaboration with Maison Jean Paul Gaultier, Paris Body corset worn by Madonna for the Blond Ambition World Tour, 1990,

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