Hello readers,

I realize it has been a bit of time since I’ve posted anything. I’m sorry. I took a long summer while starting a new job and moving to a different city, etc. Now that i’m done ‘adjusting’ to all that I will break my four month spell of zero posts and leave with you this bit I have found in a book called, THE SECRET OF METALS. Being who I am – and who some of you are, i’m sure – I found the following to be pretty fucking sick; to be reminded why I was originally brought to jewelry in the first place is refreshing, especially so epically so, and especially among today’s mess of contemporary bullshit where I often find myself bombarded with plastics and resins and wood and paint and glue and readymades and other junk (if of course those things can ultimately be described as junky, that is).

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WITH THE HELP OF METALS MAN HAS ESTABLISHED HIS POSITION IN THE WORLD AND HAS TRANSFORMED THE FACE OF THE EARTH. THE CONCORD OF HIS BODILY FUNCTIONS DEPENDS, IN MANY IMPORTANT PROCESSES, ON MARVELOUS METAL-BOURNE EFFECTS. EVERY DECADE OF RESEARCH ACQUAINTS US WITH NEW FACETS OF A COSMOS OF METALS WITHIN US. IN THE WORLD OUTSIDE WE COME AGAIN AND AGAIN UPON NEW DEPOSITS IN EARTH, WHICH ENABLE US TO ADVANCE IN CIVILIZATION; IN THE INNER WORLD OF THE BODY, EVER NEW LAYERS OF ACTIVITIES PERMEATED BY METALS ARE LIFTED INTO OUR CONSCIOUSNESS. WE NOT ONLY BREATHE WITH IRON, BUT WE NEED COPPER TO FORM OUR BLOOD AND COBALT TO ESCAPE PERNICIOUS ANEMIA. AS THE METHODS OF INVESTIGATION BECOME MORE REFINED, WE CONSTANTLY DISCOVER MORE METALS TO BE REGULAR COMPONENTS OF OUR BODIES. WE FIND THEM, HOWEVER, NOT AS BUILDING BLOCKS IN THE GROSSER SENSE, BUT AS INSTRUMENTS BY WHICH OUR HUMAN ENTITY CARRIES OUT SIGNIFICANT PHYSIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES. 

THE METALS AFFECT MAN NOT ONLY IN HIS BODY BUT ALSO IN HIS CONSCIOUSNESS, IN HIS SOUL AND SPIRIT. THEY SPEAK A LANGUAGE THAT CONVEYS THEIR NATURE MORE IMPRESSIVELY AS THESE EFFECTS MOVE INTO HIGHER SPHERES OF EXISTENCE. WHAT IS A MERE INDISTINCT STAMMERING IN THE REALM OF THE ORGANIC BECOME MORE ARTICULATE AS IT IS TAKEN UP AND UTILIZED BY MORE PERFECT REALMS– THROUGH THE REALM OF THE MERELY LIVING PLANT, INTO THAT OF THE ENSOULED ANIMAL, AND FINALLY INTO THAT OF MAN. FOR THE HIGHER OF BEING RISES AND THE MORE IT IS ABLE TO EXPRESS ITS OWN ESSENCE, THE BETTER IT CAN EXPRESS THE REGIONS OF THE WORLD FROM WHICH IT DERIVES. 

photo (5)

Really interesting dialogue going on at AJF between writer/reasearcher Liesbeth den Besten and Ornamentum’s Stefan Friedemann. I find that Liesbeth’s response to Friedemann also functions quite well as a clear and accurate breakdown of the systems of contemporary jewelry as compared to the fine art world, even a solid introduction. They are both definitely worth the read, as this kind of open and critical conversation doesn’t get much better. LET’S KEEP IT GOING

click below for their texts:

Stefan Friedemann: Letter to Liesbeth den Besten

Liesbeth den Besten: Letter to Stefan Friedemann

 

These texts are part of AJF’s In Sigh Series. 

Please visit the original post ——–> HERE 

BL: Loved your enthusiastic scribbling on Bourriaud. I have a problem with your working hypothesis (as usual!?) but like your dauntless crusade!

Where I find you err (!?) is that (1) you assume that the similarities between art and jewelry are what will bring them closer (2) you use as ‘proof’ an example that is particularly unhelpful: Bourriaud’s relational aesthetics texts encapsulates a ‘meaningful departure from the norm’ amongst contemporary art makers: a way of engaging the public that is new, exciting, and representative of larger social concerns. However, while it is new and exciting for art, it is old (and exciting) for jewelry: i.e. jewelry, as you point out, has always relied on a form of public sharing to function. So in my eye, ‘relational’ is not how jewelry becomes more like art, but how art becomes more like jewelry.

KR: I am smiling. And I both agree and disagree with you. Yes, perhaps it is old and exciting for jewelry, but it doesn’t hurt to bring those qualities to the surface and compare it to something so concrete in contemporary art (has it been done?), so that at the very least, dummies who have never thought about jewelry, in its old sense or contemporary sense, can at least take a new kind of pleasure in it, or consider it (even just a tiny bit) to be something bigger and more complex than they ever gave it credit for.

It’s more like, hey everyone, you think this bourriaud relational shit is cool? well guess what: we’ve already been doing that for… ever. so maybe it is worth thinking about, or at the very least enjoying. oh and here’s a whole bunch of jewelry that you’ve never seen before, or even knew existed! you’re welcome. 

BL: I am smiling as well. Comparing is fine, and the way you express it there is more to the point, I think. I would urge you to envisage the possibility that what will make CJ more ‘like art’ is precisely what makes it different from art as we know it.

This dialogue was taken from email correspondance on April 30, 2013. Mr. Lignel is my editor at AJF. 

IF YOU LIKE THIS:

elizabeth renstrom elizabeth renstrom

elizabeth renstrom

elisabeth renstrom

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THEN YOU WILL ALSO LIKE THIS:

mallory weston

 

mallory weston

mallory weston

 

*MWeston1

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appearing first: photography by ELIZABETH RENSTROM <====all photos taken from artist’s website

^(thank you matthew leifheit for introducing her to me through your super awesome MATTE magazine)

second: jewelry by MALLORY WESTON <====all photos taken from artist’s website

please visit the websites to learn more about each artist and their work

What Is It That You Do Exactly? | Art Jewelry Forum <—- click here!

forever young at gallery spektrum, 2012

HELLO READERS!  So happy to announce that after months of waiting, the article I wrote for AJF is finally published on their site. It addresses the lack of categorization within contemporary jewelry work and experiments with trying to do that by breaking apart the different types of exhibitions that we have. Give it a read and tell me what you think.

Here’s a quote I used from Bruce Althsuler to try and demonstrate contemporary jewelry’s relatively slow pace when it comes to dealing with new categories:

Institutional structures created at an earlier time to meet different needs are being called into question by new artistic media and by the use of the term contemporary to designate a particular kind of artwork. Alternative conceptions of the artwork and new technologies have created special problems of preservation and conservation. Broader social and political changes have generated new artistic categories and have broken down established national and ethnic divisions, all of which have affected how collections are built and their contents organized.”

(From Collecting the New) 

Looking at past and current exhibitions is one way we can begin to think about breaking down how we consider and value what is being made. It’s like working in reverse. Whether the exhibition initiative is institutional or independent, and even if the distinction between assembling, selecting, and curating is lost on exhibition organizers (as it most often is), sorting through various shows and analyzing the associations being forged between pieces and their authors can help us see more clearly what kind of work exists within the field. If certain exhibition types help us identify subgenres within contemporary jewelry, then makers and writers may subsequently discover better ways of defining the work at hand and explaining it to others. 

(quoting myself above)

Thank you both Damian Skinner and Benjamin Lignel for editing this piece

Now the mandate is to “design something for when I feel lonely,” he added. “For when I feel empty. For when I’m turned down by my love. For when I’m scared because I’m going to die. For when I lose a kid. Design now is fulfilling important things that for a long time were more expected from art, but that art today is failing to deliver because it’s so immersed in itself.

I know this is a bit past due, but this NYTimes article —->  After the Boom, a Better Kind of Art, about “design art” or “art furniture” seen at Design Miami is really worth the read. Design can get away with anything. It’s more shameless than fashion, a lot of the time. And we should be jealous! Read the article, look at the numbers ( and when I say numbers I mean $$$), and you just TRY and tell me why a super-slickly designed “art” CHAIR made of PLASTIC or something, reels in the big bucks and no one fucking QUESTIONS if it’s worth the price tag or not, when objects made of similar cheap and immediate materials, even if it came from a similar conceptual departure and took a comparable amount of time to make yet is simply just smaller (yes of course a price gap is caused by size differences/material consumption, sure, but I mean my god, plastic is plastic, resin is resin, and that shit ain’t that expensive… and god knows that WE know that when material ain’t an arm and a leg, we make up for it with skill) would NEVER be “worth” that kind of money. WHY? Ok, in rare cases, sure but it isn’t the same, indicated by the fact that “art jewelry” is still pretty much off the highbrow art AND design radar, generally speaking.  To sell jewelry with those kind of price tags, the shit’s still gotta be made of gold, sadly, or have a bunch of fucking diamonds in it. ARE OUR IDEAS TOTALLY WORTHLESS??? But furniture gets an easier ride because of its approachability, its universality  its perception of being needed as it’s functional. It’s easier to justify perhaps, to wrap your head around. And please don’t think i’m speaking negatively; my we’re-fooling-everyone life partner, Misha sent me this article, and he is quite the art furniture or art design (whatever you want to call it <— that just happens to also be a direct quote from the article. Can we say, same problems??? God damn vocabulary always gotta mess everything up) extraordinaire . He just has a slightly easier struggle. And will probably make a hell of a lot more money than the rest of us lowly art jewelry people.

Here are some other quotes from the article, surely to make your brain say, BUT WAIT, HAVEN’T WE, THE CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY ARTISTS, BEEN DOING THIS ALREADY? WHERE IS OUR GREAT MARKET?? :

“…has long worked with designers to produce objects that have the conceptual depth and rarity of fine art”

“Design art has so much growth potential where I’m fortunate to be a spearhead of this new movement… Meanwhile, in the arts It’s so difficult to find something that stands out and proposes something new anymore.”

SO. Do you think we, contemporary jewelry, art jewelry, WHATEVER, is more closely aligned with art, or design? Are we actually a sub-category of design based on the definitions presented by this article? I mean we happen to have already been making art jewelry for awhile, maybe that’s why no one published an article about it in the NYTimes or anywhere in the public sphere, for that matter, because it started a long time ago. I happen to think we’ve already been filling the great divide between art and design, just a little more quietly I suppose. So i’ll ask again, where’s our great market? Hell, the economy stinks right? At least contemporary jewelry is cheaper to collect. And you get to fucking wear it. EYES OPEN, WORLD.

I will mention that Caroline van Hoek (described as a design gallery mind you) did attend at Design Miami with a list of amazing artists that went something like this: Giampaolo BabettoGijs BakkerRalph Bakker, Alexander BlankHelen BrittonBeatrice BroviaKlaus BurgelNicolas ChengWillemijn De GreefDavid HuyckeBeate KlockmannDaniel KrugerFritz MaierhoferBarbara PaganinSeth PapacRenzo PasqualeRuudt PetersRobert Smit, StudyOPortableLisa Walker and Annamaria Zanella. Thanks Caroline! 

I wonder how she did this year.

Now back to that first quote at the top of the post. Maybe that guy should start thinking about making jewelry. We already do all that too.

Misha_Kahn_Pig_Bench

But then again, so does Misha.                                       Click on the image above for a link to his website.

design ≥ art ≥ jewelry ????

I JUST DON’T EVEN KNOW TODAY

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