Curator's Choice

Elizabeth Goring

Kevin Coates As part of the Curator's Choice series, I asked Elizabeth Goring who was recommended to me, but whom I didn't know to talk about her favorite piece. Since then I have spoken to her several times and have found that she brings an slightly different perspective to her love of jewelry. Usually a curator will respond with a piece from their museum's collection but Elizabeth had recently retired from her position at the National Museums of Scotland and so she reponds with a story about a piece she owns. Her connection to the study of archelogy is crucial to the story – and might just demonstrate a crucial link between that practice and comtemporary jewelry itself.

All objects can tell stories to those prepared to listen; jewels, by their very nature, are perhaps able to relate the most personal. The story of the piece I have chosen from my own collection of jewelry is one of a gift, given in friendship and returned in friendship – with an extraordinary level of interest.

My professional life has combined two parallel but interwoven strands. Many people know me as a contemporary jewelry specialist. I was Curator of Modern Jewelry at the National Museums of Scotland for more than twenty years, where I built a major international public collection. But I am also an archaeologist and I simultaneously held the post of Curator of Mediterranean Archaeology at the same museum. The two strands are interlinked by a passionate interest in the making and purpose of jewelry.

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Elizabeth Goring
Kevin Coates

Collector's Choice

Linda Ross

Joyce Scott As part of the Curator’s Choice series I asked the participants if they would describe their favorite piece or ‘the one that got away.’ There are those pieces that haunt all collectors, which for some reason or another were not acquired when they were available. Those pieces in some ways live on in a memory that takes on even more value than they might have if they had been purchased. Linda Ross from Royal Oak, Michigan, owned Sybaris Gallery for seventeen years. It closed in 2003 and her reflections on the piece that she should have purchased will resonate with all of us.

A Cautionary Tale

I often tell clients who are hesitant about buying a piece of artwork that they should think about it for a while. If it haunts them, they should seriously consider purchasing it or someone else may scoop it up. From personal experience, I know the heartache and longing that result over the ‘one that got away.’ In my early collecting days, I passed up a drawing by the folk artist Bill Traylor. Every time I see one of his pieces in a gallery show or in a museum, my sense of regret grows deeper knowing that Traylor’s work is now way out of my price range. But one of the biggest mistakes I made in my collecting career – the one that haunts me the most – happened in the late 1980s shortly after I opened The Sybaris Gallery. I reluctantly made the decision not to purchase Run Down On the Highway of Love, a fabulous beaded necklace by the venerable Joyce Scott. Start-up costs for the gallery were high and I didn’t have a lot of extra cash for art during that time.

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Joyce Scott
Linda Ross

Behind the Scenes: The Story of the New Website

After a year and a half of planning and thousands of hours of work by our dedicated board and staff, we are unveiling our best effort to entertain, educate and inspire our readers and supporters. And so without further delay . . . Welcome to the new AJF website!

The redesigned website is envisioned as an online magazine full of original content relating to contemporary jewelry.  This redesign centers on AJF’s desire to be a major resource about the international art jewelry scene.

How did that vision come about? AJF editor Damian Skinner and board member Mike Holmes, who were originally working on the old website and blog, realized that the existing website was not going to be sufficient for all their ambitious ideas and suggested that we think about redesigning the site. They had collected a pile of articles on topics that had no natural home on the old website and had plans for more. They could see this was going to be a problem.

After numerous delays and a timeout for the redesign of our logo and style we are finally able to launch this new site. It has been a total labor of love for all those involved and we are forever grateful to Sally von Bargen, the AJF board member who led the redevelopment of the site and her hard working team including Steve Shaw, our website technologist, Damian Skinner, our editor and content builder and Jillian Moore, our image manipulator.

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Lisa Walker: Put a cord on it

Galerie Ra & Cobra Museum of Modern Art
Kerianne Quick

Lisa Walker Mint colored monoliths dominate the central space at Galerie Ra. They are an island of towering cliffs, pressing down upon you as you enter. They amplify a feeling already present in Lisa Walker’s work – of weight and scale, of superabundance, of overwhelming excess. Not the excess of lavishness, but of being buried in the flotsam and jetsam of consumer society. Walker’s concurrent exhibitions, the result of her 2010 Françoise van den Bosch Prize win, at Galerie Ra and the Cobra Museum of Modern Art, pack in a whopping 80+ works, 35 of which cover these mint structures and the aubergine colored wall behind. Her materials consist of the detritus of modern life, of her own life. But these are not strictly personal works. The stuff has universal appeal. The no longer useful Macbook, broken toys, tchotchke’s, and things that were only useful to a point, like mediocre paintings, souvenirs belonging to others, or disposable containers. They are parts, discards, things that reside in a state of half usefulness. You don’t really need them, but you don’t want to throw them away either. The imagined state (and I am sure that it is purely that) of Lisa’s studio could be an episode of Hoarders.

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Lisa Walker
Lisa Walker
Lisa Walker
Lisa Walker
Lisa Walker
Lisa Walker
Lisa Walker
Lisa Walker
Lisa Walker
Lisa Walker
Lisa Walker
Lisa Walker
Lisa Walker
Lisa Walker

Klaus Bürgel: The Restive Line

Gallery Loupe, Montclair New Jersey November 14 – December 12, 2011

Klaus Bürgel It is a frequently unacknowledged fact that during the late Medieval and early Renaissance periods certain artworks were meant to be handled, touched, picked up, held. This tended to involve smaller sculptural objects and wall hangings. It also included jewelry, although on a more limited scale due to its comparative rarity and value. Tactile encounters were the residue of a devotional experience that treated these types of objects not as artworks but as sacred items. Yet as cultural production became secularized and aestheticized, and patronage shifted from the Church to the aristocracy, what eventually came to be called “artworks” receded from touch while increasingly serving as a visual icon for earthly prestige.

It is another frequently unacknowledged fact that during the late Medieval and early Renaissance periods tapestries were valued as much as paintings—and in certain parts of Europe, even more so. Outside of Italy, tapestries solidified dynasties in a way that paintings could not. The nobility throughout Europe and England commissioned tapestries just as the Medici and the Vatican commissioned paintings and sculptures. But a strong association of tapestries with craft (and its accompanying themes of the feminine and domestic), occurring alongside the rise of the Renaissance myth of the inspired individual artist, eventually relegated tapestries to a subsidiary art form behind painting, sculpture, and even music.

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Klaus Bürgel
Klaus Bürgel
Klaus Bürgel
Klaus Bürgel
Klaus Bürgel
Klaus Bürgel

ALEXANDER BLANK: WHERE DID THE NIGHT GO? MELANIE ISVERDING: HIDE AND SEEK

GALERIE ROB KOUDIJS : ROOM FOR JEWELRY October 22 - December 07, 2011

Alexander Blank Galerie Rob Koudijs has been invaded by animals. These animals are not scratching at the door or gnawing on the furniture. They sit quietly, poised and ready, steadfastly staring forward; remembering, dreaming, planning, longing. These creatures want you to do the same, so Alexander Blank would like you to believe. Blank has created a fantasy world where anthropomorphized animals understand their station and desire more, where the ink skins of cartoon characters can rot away exposing their plastic bones beneath, a place where we as viewers can feel both melancholy and hopeful.

Where did the night go? encompasses three bodies of work all which exhibit a stunning level of craft and are related to fantastic realities. The work began as a conscious departure from Blank’s conceptual methodology. As a student at the Munich academy Blank reached a moment in his artistic practice where he needed to make with more immediacy, to make something a bit less straight and serious. “My first intention was to make something really clumsy but in a quite technically perfect way.”

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Alexander Blank
Alexander Blank
Alexander Blank
Alexander Blank
Alexander Blank
Alexander Blank
Alexander Blank
Melanie Isverding

Bijoux sans Frontières

Triennale Européenne Du Bijou Contemporain 2011 Triennale Européenne Du Bijou Contemporain 2011 is the fourth triennial for contemporary jewellery held by the Belgium’s World Craft Council (WCC·BF). On each occasion the WCC·BF hosts jewellers from Belgium and two other European countries as guests of honour. This year, Jorge Manilla, Martina Dempf and Cristina Filipe selected work from Belgium, Germany and Portugal respectively and each wrote introductory essays for the accompanying catalogue.

In her essay In search of “Jewellery”, Dempf states, “contemporary jewellery in Germany is, above all, international”.  I don’t dispute this for one second and would expand the statement to say that contemporary jewellery in Europe is international. Therefore I was curious to see if and how the categorisation of nationalism could be presented as some form of collected identity within in an art jewellery context.

It was good that the work in the exhibition had not been physically segregated into Belgian, German and Portuguese divisions, and the extent of the exhibition’s curatorial reference to representative country was having either (B) (D) or (P) after the artist’s name on the exhibit label.  I can’t fault the quality and craftsmanship of the selected work; and the consideration to select work not only from established artists but also work that represented a younger generation including recent and ‘soon to be’ graduates, thus serving as a worthy introduction and overview of work produced by the three countries. However, without a theoretical framework to contextualise the overall exhibition- I found it not always easy to engage with the ideas behind individual pieces.  Personally I would have liked to have had access to some contextual information that went beyond each label content of name, country represented, title and materials.  Nevertheless the exhibition presented, and delightfully so, a Babel hall of many different visual languages, accents and vernacular, some of which I understood and some of which the meanings were lost without translation or context. For example I was intrigued by a piece by Nelly Van Oost (B), presented as two large-scale posters hung on the wall accompanying a necklace of chains in an adjacent display case. I was curious as to under what request people had sent chains to Van Oost, and were all the chains included in the final piece?  So without any presence of information at the exhibition and my curiosity getting the better of me – I contacted her directly and was duly supplied with the information that I was looking for. Thanks Nelly.

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Daniel Kruger
Dorothea Prühl
Triennale Européenne Du Bijou Contemporain 2011
Triennale Européenne Du Bijou Contemporain 2011
Nelly Van Oost
Triennale Européenne Du Bijou Contemporain 2011
Pedro Sequeira
Triennale Européenne Du Bijou Contemporain 2011

Sparkle Pleanty 7: Organ/ism

Curator Daniel DiCaprio talks about this year’s exhibition at Quirk Gallery

Marta Mattsson Sparkle Plenty is the annual jewelry exhibition put on by Quirk Gallery in Richmond Virginia.  And this year I was given the opportunity to curate it.  As a jeweler I thought of the exhibitions that have inspired me in the past.  I wanted to create a show that displayed my particular interests in jewelry and other new work that I find exciting.  I also wanted to take this chance to exhibit the work of other young jewelers, most of whom are making these exceptional pieces within the first decade of their professional careers.  These are the ones who inspire me and challenge me to keep working in the studio.  These are some of the artists that I feel add interesting new ideas to the larger art jewelry dialog.  I chose the theme of biologically influenced jewelry, the lifeblood of my own work and the narrative that attracts me to certain pieces. The official prospectus of the show went something like this: “The world is full of life and organisms that thrive in a multitude of ways.  From the seemingly mundane to the flat-out bizarre, “things” have found a way to survive.  People are both part of the living world, and manipulators of it.  An ever-changing world and life’s ability to adapt is the theme for this exhibition.  The work presented shows a reverence for these creatures, the inner spark that ignites life, and the ability to survive.”

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Marta Mattsson
Jillian Moore
Hilary Pfeifer
Masumi Kataoka
Masako Onodera
Satomi Kawai
Emily Watson
Marta Mattsson

Cover Girl

The PBS blog Culture Lust has an interesting article about how this photograph of a neckpiece by Arline Fisch came to be the cover image of the catalog for San Diego’s Craft Revolution: From Post-War Modern To California Design, a new exhibition at the Mingei International Museum in San Diego. As Dave Hampton, exhibition curator, writes:

Another element of the California Design photos has to do with people. In the 1960s and 1970s artists such as Arline Fisch were working with large scale jewelry objects made to be worn on the body. Although conventionally-scaled jewelry—rings, bracelets and necklaces—were often photographed as isolated objects or in groups for the California Design catalogues, larger body ornaments were worn by models. It was not a look that most people could pull off. While these images are absolutely tame by current art standards, at most “racy” or “risqué,” they do contain an element of sexuality. This forthright sensuality is a basic part of the jewelry that emerged in the 1960s era of social tumult as an important part of American contemporary craft. But sex is just part of what comes through in the images.

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B-SIDE FESTIVAL: A contemporary jewelry route through Amsterdam

B-side Down Town Art Jewellery Festival: 3-6 November, 2011

B-SIDE FESTIVAL THE SKINNY
B-side Down Town Art Jewellery Festival is a four day event created by and for jewelry artists. As an alternative, a “b-side”, to the Sieraad International Art Jewelry Fair, the festival presents artist created exhibitions and special performances across the city of Amsterdam. Initiated and organized in 2010 by MIN-Association, a group of three international jewellery designers: Maaike Ebbinge (NL), Iris Tsante (GR), Noémie Doge (CH), the festival aims to “highlight different ways of thinking about and presenting art jewellery”. B-side is about exploring possibilities, in work, venues, display strategies, and public interaction, bringing a relaxed, experimental flavor  with some of the edginess of an underground festival. Overall B-side has a gallery crawl or art school degree show vibe, not related to the quality of the work but to the informal, party-like atmosphere it creates. On our route through the city we visited ateliers, private apartments, redundant commercial spaces, boutiques, cafés, galleries, community exhibition spaces, and outdoor public spaces. Participants included established artists, emerging artists, collective groups, and students, exhibiting an incredible range of work. Each participant organized a venue and designed their own show within the wider framework of the route coordinated by B-side. Since the festival was as much about the method as the content, I hope you, dear reader, will forgive me if I am not only focused on the work…

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B-SIDE FESTIVAL
Julia Walter & Antje Godglück
Julia Walter & Antje Godglück
Jack van Osnabrugge & Ariëtte van Osnabrugge
Nolia Shakti and Lucie Zampova
Lucy Sarneel and Jelle Kampen
Lucy Sarneel and Jelle Kampen
Collective A6
Vanessa de Gruijter
Min Association
HYM Concept Store
Bea Correa
Morgane de Klerk
Pia Farrugia, Marie Debrinay, Fanny Agnier and Oya Kozacioglu
Florie Dupont and Muriel Laurent
Florie Dupont and Muriel Laurent

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