By Amanda Moses
As a child, I can remember watching my aunt hunched over her desk painting beautiful designs on various pieces of jewelry in her home office. She would peer through her jewelers’ eye magnifier and with steady hands paint colorful designs on rings, earrings, and charms. It was truly an amazing sight to behold because at that moment she was making art.
Art is truly the lifeblood of human expression. It requires ingenuity, innovation, and imagination. The art of crafting jewelry is the embodiment of this definition—work produced with emotion and intricate creativity.
On April 16th, the Spring Creek Sun attended LOOT: MAD About Jewelry’s press preview, which exhibited the very best in contemporary jewelry at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD). The event was a spectacular vision with all of it colorful, ornamental jewelry displayed on the walls and in glass cases. There were ebony mannequins covered in oversized necklaces indicative of Asian, African and other cultures by Denmark artists, Gerda and Nikolai Monies, and there were glass cases filled with wearable art like Grecian artist, Tina Karageorigi’s porcelain necklaces (which were inspired by her art education).
The highlight of this annual five-day exhibition and sale of contemporary jewelry is that it provides people the opportunity to shop and meet jewelry artists. “LOOT remains the ultimate contemporary art jewelry shopping experience in New York,” said LOOT 2018 Chair, Marsy Mittlemann in a press release. “No other event offers such a variety of expressive and original jewelry from around the world. We are proud to showcase the work of contemporary jewelry artists to the public, providing a platform for their creative practice, while supporting the Museum’s education and exhibition programs,” she said.
LOOT will run until April 21st and features artists showcasing remarkable works of art through non-traditional materials (such as jewelry made from crocheted textiles, ecologically tie-dyed silk, felt, leather, and resin to 3D-printed nylon, titanium, safety pins, bicycle tires, X-ray film, papier-mâché, and wood). The MAD jewelry collection consists of more than 900 pieces from mid-century to present. Since this event is both an exhibition and opportunity for attendees to purchase jewelry, all of the proceeds earned will go to the MAD’s programs and exhibitions.
During the press preview, LOOT awarded two artists whose work transcends the art form, experiments with technique and material, and demonstrates an expertise in execution. The LOOT Acquisition prize went to Isabelle Molénat from France and Sarran Youkongdee from Thailand. This prize was given to these two artists because they have made significant contributions to their field and their jewelry fits within the museum’s mid-to-late 20th century historical context.
Molénat received the award because her jewelry is not just wearable art; it is a representation of the environment (she works in silk and her process of dyeing is eco-printing, using carefully selected plants, which produce tannins that change through the seasons. She uses the dyed silk to make sheathed ribbons, which she weaves to create wearable textile sculptures.)
Youkongdee’s work was also chosen for the LOOT Acquisition prize because of his masterful technique in capturing Thai culture, wisdom, and his representation of the strength and beauty of Thai women with flowers (which are hand crafted from scented materials so that the jewelry both looks and smells like a garland) and intricate designs.
The LOOT: MAD About Jewelry 2018 exhibition featured jewelry by 35 international emerging and established artists, including: Katerina Anastasiou, Gian Luca Bartellone, Mercedes Castro Corbat, Bongsang Cho, Tania Clarke Hall, Martina Dempf, Anna Dubessy, Gaëtan Essayie, Shelby Fitzpatrick, Fabiana Gadano,Tassa Ganidou, Grace Girvan, Jed Green, Lene Hald, Tina Karageorgi, Roland Kawczynski, Catherine Le Gal, Stefania Lucchetta, Andra Lupu, Joan MacKarell, Lynne MacLachlan, Asagi Maeda, Isabelle Molénat, Gerda and Nikolai Monies, Monica Nesseler, Marianne Olry, Beatriz Palacios, Jounghye Park, Beatrice Pieroni Lubé, Anna Porcu, Shenhav Russo, Joanne Thompson, Christopher Thompson Royds, Roberta and David Williamson, and Sarran Youkongdee.
Photos by Amanda Moses and Dean Moses