Damian Skinner is an art historian and curator based in Gisborne, New Zealand. He edited the book Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective (Lark Books, 2013).
While there is no denying the sheer variety of contemporary jewelry on display in this book (color images of 552 pieces of jewelry by 193 artists from fourteen countries) Dona Z Meilach doesn’t do much to lift the book beyond its origins in a call for submissions in which anyone could participate. Grouped by themes, mostly organized around materials, the analysis is rather slight and gives little sense of the particular contexts and issues that this jewelry and these jewelers are grappling with. Artist statements add moderate interest, but as this book includes a lot of jewelry without the rigor and critical engagement that is key to contemporary jewelry, it will only reward those with the ability and patience to create their own critical framework through which the work on show can be evaluated.