Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Aha Moment

Karen Lorene

What is it that separates the contemporary jewelry and fine art worlds, and what might link them together? AJF member and jewelry gallery owner Karen Lorene thought about this and other issues while reading Sarah Thornton’s book Seven Days in the Art World. Here’s what she concluded.

A question was proffered by Damian Skinner, editor of this blog: How does the book Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton relate to you as a gallerist?

Suzanne Golden, Welcome to Hawaii neckpiece, acrylic beads and seed beads, 16 inches diameter, 2.5 inches (largest ball)

The answer? Let me set the scene. We received seven very large boxes containing a traveling show entitled Transmutations: Material Reborn. In each box was nestled jewelry made of plastic. One very large box contained the work of Suzanne Golden. The necklaces and bracelets are exuberant, large, colorful, demanding.

This box with Suzanne Golden’s work arrived on the very day I read chapter six of Thornton’s book. Called ‘Studio visit’, this chapter is dedicated to an interview by Thornton of artist Takashi Murakami. Wanting to learn more, I Googled Murakami. There on the walls, in his paintings, bouncing out of his sculptures was the very reflection of work by Suzanne Golden. To an e-mail inquiry, Suzanne responded: ‘I probably didn’t know about anime until a few years ago, but I did see a recent exhibition of work by Takashi Murakami whose style really appeals to me’.

Suzanne Golden, Samba bracelet, acrylic beads and seed beads, 7 inches diameter

Yes! The Collective Unconscious slips around the world, grabs hold, and blossoms in entirely different forms of art! The work of one artist helped me understand the other, the shared color pallet and exuberance gave me a ground from which I can appreciate both.

The other six chapters of Thornton’s book opened doors and ideas. Her writing made me ask these questions: Why does the world of flat art not see the value (and wear!) jewelry art? (Google Artforum and look at the photos of an opening and you’ll see almost everyone NOT wearing jewelry art). When might we see jewelry art at the Venice Biennale or Art Basel? What is the largest prize bestowed upon an artist, and when might that artist be a jewelry artist? When will jewelry artists be recognized by the ‘other’ world of art? When will the distinction between the two disappear? Or do we want the distinction to disappear?

The concluding thought after reading this engaging book? We who love jewelry art have a whole art world ripe for conversion.