September 3, 2013
≥ is a blog and reference point concerning ethos and contemporary thought about jewelry ≥ art ≥ visual tradition. Defining contemporary jewelry – a field that remains unfairly confined to the general implications of the words used to describe it – and exploring its relation to visual arts is the content’s main focus while in pursuit of broadening the field’s reach.
By focusing on the creation of new associations, semantic investigations, new dialogue and idea sharing, ≥ features current arts/exhibition research through articles, interviews, short texts, visual exposure, resources and general information primarily concerned contemporary jewelry’s crossover to other art genres.
GREATER THAN OR EQUAL TO aims to promote the often lesser-known creative practices and those that continue to go unnoticed in the wider scheme of the visual arts. By focusing on cross-over disciplines, semantic investigations, new dialogue, idea sharing and the creation of new associations, ≥ features current arts/exhibition research through articles, interviews, short texts, visual exposure of new work, extensive references, and general information primarily concerned with the art practice called contemporary jewelry – a field that at times remains unfairly confined to the general implications of the words used to describe it. This blog is an effort to change that.
The discourse the blog explores – by going outside of or even rejecting current categories and semantics in relation to the arts – has enormous potential to teach people to think critically about assumptions they didn’t know they had. To those unfamiliar with contemporary art jewelry, new eyeballs are needed, thus this blog wants to show outsiders that they’ve already been interested in something they didn’t quite know existed.
Additionally, this blog equally values broadening the perspective of the very community that comprises contemporary jewelry by dissecting existing structures and presenting information of interest that might otherwise remain outside their scope, e.g. relatable happenings in contemporary art. It is the opinion of this blog that this confluence is no longer avoidable.
The majority of the content is about first hand experiences written by Kellie Riggs, post-Fulbright researcher/ scholar and artist.
WHY START THIS PROJECT?
The project was initiated due to a lack of awareness/overall misunderstanding of contemporary jewelry (as an artistic practice) by the general public and other visual art communities, as it largely remains an uncharted island with its own structures and dwindling market. By exploiting different relationships that step away from the common assumptions of the field created by its language, this blog critically assesses the work’s research-based processes, conceptual development, relational qualities and theoretical potential that merit new consideration on the highest of social, aesthetic, intellectual and critical levels. Most previous writing about contemporary jewelry is dependent on its history and limited to value or associations to the c-word (…craft) without any emphasis of its crossovers to the fine arts, as it deserves to be. It has also remained far too general with little focus on individual works, not to mention extremely incestuous versus wide reaching.
Writing on this topic is rare and hard to access if you don’t know what you’re looking for, almost non-existent with respect to the mission of this blog. Too much of the standing writing suggests we’re still just glad contemporary jewelry exists at all, even though the conceptual shift happened in the early 1950’s.
The majority of the current audience consists of contemporary artist-jewelers (this naming gets tricky…); it’s naïve to think otherwise. So as this blog’s mission, it’s necessary that the content reaches a broader spectrum of creative people searching for something new to look at, think about, hold, collect, and of course, wear – young art writers, artists, designers, fashion enthusiasts, art collectors, curators, or virtually anyone associated to contemporary art (including those who just attend the openings) and cool people with decent taste of any social circle – are all invited. Help us find more places for the work to live.
March 9th, 2012
HOW I AM SEEING THINGS NOW: THE PLACE FOR (THE GOOD) CONTEMPORARY WORK IN JEWELRY (IT DOESN’T YET EXIST)
THIS NEWLY EDITED ABOUT SECTION WILL NOW SERVE AS AN OPEN CALL OF SORTS, A CALL TO THOSE WHO AGREE WITH ME AND SHARE THE SAME DESIRE TO PROMOTE THE CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY FIELD BY ATTEMPTING TO ELEVATE ARTISTS DESERVING A WIDER CONSIDERATION AND AUDIENCE. ARE WE MORE THAN JUST JEWELERS? DOES OUR WORK DESERVE A BIGGER SPACE? DO YOU SEE THE POTENTIAL IN A PIECE OF JEWELRY AS AN OBJECT, A PHYSICAL MANIFESTATION OF A POTENTIAL RELATIONSHIP OR AN INFINITE NUMBER OF INTERACTIONS? DO YOU THINK THAT THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE CONTEMPORARY RESEARCH ON THE FIELD? DO WE NEED TO START REFRAMING HOW WE TALK ABOUT THE WORK, STARTING WITH THE WORDS WE CHOOSE TO USE? IS YOUR WORK BEYOND THE SAME OLD DISPLAY CONVENTIONS THAT LIMIT THE CONCEPTUAL NATURE OF THE STORY YOU WANT TO TELL? WHERE DO YOU SEE THE WORK LIVING? IS YOUR WORK THE BEGINNING OF A PERFORMANCE? COULD YOU DESCRIBE IT AS A FORM OF ART SIMILAR TO TINO SEGHAL’S “HUMAN SCULPTURE”? IS YOUR WORK MERELY A TANGIBLE SYMBOL FOR SOMETHING ACTUALLY QUITE THE OPPOSITE?
I AM SEARCHING FOR THOSE THAT HAVE BEEN SPARKED WITH THIS SAME LEVEL OF CURIOSITY. PART OF MY RESEARCH GRANT IS TO CREATE AN EXHIBITION OF SORTS, A NEW PLATFORM FOR SHOWING WORK IN NEW WAYS MAKING IT MORE APPROACHABLE TO THE CONCEPTUAL FOUNDATIONS OF OUR PROCESSES, RESEARCH AND THINKING. I NOW FEEL THIS DREAM SHOW SHOULD DEAL WITH THE ISSUES I HAVE LISTED ABOVE. IDEALLY IT WILL NOT BE ONLY FOR THOSE WHO CONSIDER THEMSELVES PART OF THE ART JEWELRY WORLD. I WILL BE LOOKING FOR THOSE WHO SIMILARLY WORK THROUGH CHANNELS OF THE HUMAN CONDITION, SPEAKING THROUGH WORK THAT MANIFESTS NON OBJECTIVE MOMENTS AND THOUGHTS THROUGH PHYSICAL OBJECTS. LET’S TRY AND BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN WORK THAT REMAINS PINNED DOWN BY THE WORD JEWELRY, AND WHAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN CONSIDERED HIGHER FORMS OF ART. BUT TO DO THIS WE NEED TO START GIVING OURSELVES MORE CREDIT AND WRITING ABOUT THE WORK MORE COMPLEXLY. WHO IS READY???
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN GETTING INVOLVED IN ANY WAY OR EVEN JUST HAVING A CONVERSATION WITH ME (I INVITE/STRONGLY ENCOURAGE ARTISTS/WRITERS/ RESEARCHERS/COLLECTIVES TO GET IN TOUCH!), PLEASE SEND ME AN EMAIL! KELLIERIGGS@GMAIL.COM
(The following is a newly edited version of what I originally wrote upon starting this blog)
November 2, 2011
This blog is devoted to my research and thoughts during my Fulbright year in Italy. I will attempt to explore and discover inextricable relationships found within our visual history, many seemingly unrelated to one another. My overall interest is to investigate the ways
in which traditional making practices specific to contemporary jewelry and goldsmithing meet contemporary art culture, not only in Italy, but within the larger sphere of the fine art world. This is fueled by a larger interest in the aspects of Italian art culture that have continuously facilitated artists to reinterpret their own visual history. In what ways does the past meet the present? How can tradition breed contemporary innovations? What about the language we use is problematic in the ways we try to understand things???? My reflections will attempt to connect the dots of aesthetics and conceptual shifts found within Italy and Europe in relation to America. This blog will promote thought, cultural ideas and values centered around contemporary jewelry as an expressive art form. Although the true intent of my Fulbright project is to focus on Italian artists, theories, and ideologies spanning various eras in art and design, the content on this blog will not be limited to such. Any material I find that touches on the value of a traditional past towards the future and/or the promotion of contemporary jewelry will be worth mentioning here! USE THIS SITE AS A RESOURCE.
**all photos used on this blog were taken by kellie riggs unless noted otherwise**
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This is really interesting – thanks for putting it up! I make jewelry and am trying to find a decent and accurate description of what i do, which led me here! possibly due to an art history background ;)
Thanks so much for the comment! I am so pleased this place is still visited from time to time, in the last couple years I just haven’t had the opportunity to post here due to new projects. bad and good I guess! Thanks for your support!