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I often read the work of activist, writer, and historian Rebecca Solnit. I love her fiery rhetoric and meandering musings. Recently, as I was reading Men Explain Things to Me, I ran into a great quote on our topic of the moment--criticism--so I excerpt it here:


Rebecca Solnit, photo: Adrian Mendozo
Rebecca Solnit, photo:
Adrian Mendozo

There is a kind of counter-criticism that seeks to expand the work of art, by connecting it, opening up its meanings, inviting in the possibilities. A great work of criticism can liberate a work of art, to be seen fully, to remain alive, to engage in a conversation that will not ever end but will instead keep feeding the imagination. Not against interpretation, but against confinement, against the killing of the spirit. Such criticism is itself great art.


This is a kind of criticism that does not pit the critic against the text [Or in our case, the object. --Susan], does not seek authority. It seeks instead to travel with the work and its ideas, to invite it to blossom and invite others into a conversation that might have previously seemed impenetrable, to draw out relationships that might have been unseen and open doors that might have been locked. This is a kind of criticism that respects the essential mystery of a work of art, which is in part its beauty and its pleasure, both of which are irreducible and subjective. The worst criticism seeks to have the last word and leave the rest of us in silence; the best opens up an exchange that need never end.


Solnit is trying to describe a different kind of criticism, a counter-criticism, which doesn't nail things down but opens them up. We want the conversation to continue. And it is. Check out the ever-expanding comment section on the website.


I would like to publicly thank Sienna Patti for taking the lead on raising funds for new website content. Marion Fulk and Patti Bleicher have joined her. Thanks to all three of them for contributing a total of $1500 to the development of new content for AJF. It's just fantastic.


I'm off this month to Estonia and Sweden with AJF's group of 26 people. I look forward to seeing all my friends and visiting the Estonians and Swedes. I want to particularly thank Linda Peshkin, Tanel Veenre, and Sofia Björkman for all their hard work in planning this trip.


Vi ses senare (that's "See you later" in Swedish), 


Susan Cummins

AJF Chair

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In addition to the cash award of $7500 for the winner of the Art Jewelry Forum Artist Award (AJF AA), we have just arranged for the five finalists (including the winner) to show at the fabulous annual Schmuck event. Work will be displayed at either Galerie Marzee, Galerie Ra, or Platina gallery in the Frame part of the exhibition hall. This event will expose the work to a vast audience of interested people.

The deadline for applications is coming up fast. Please visit the website for application guidelines and submit your application at www.callforentry.org.


We are delighted to introduce our newest supporters: Clare Finin, Olivia Shih, Paulo RibeiroFrancesco Teresi, and Avid Gallery (Wellington, New Zealand). They became part of the AJF community in the past month. Thank you to each and every one of them. You can find a list of all our donors on our website.


AJF Editor to Speak at the PiN Conference


Benjamin Lignel will give two lectures during the 10th anniversary celebration of PiN (Associação de Joalharia Contemporãnea) in Lisbon, Portugal. This Is Not a Book, a discussion of Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective, will be held September 10 at 6:30 pm, and On a Pen Pusher's Jewelry Practice, a discussion of the use of words as tools in his dual career as a maker and theorist, will occur on September 11 at 6:30 pm. The events will take place at Ar.Co Centro de Arte e Communicação Visual, Rua de Santiago, 18. Admission to both lectures is free.


If you aren't in Portugal for these lectures, you can listen to Benjamin Lignel and Namita Wiggers give a presentation of Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective in two parts on AJF's website:


This Is Not a Book: A Test Drive Through Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective (Part 1)

This Is Not a Book: A Test Drive Through Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective (Part 2)

Kadri Mälk: Love Me or Leave Me or Let Me Be Lonely

Check out this thought-provoking interview with Kadri Mälk, the head of the metals department at the Estonian Academy of Art in Tallinn, Estonia. The interview ranges over a wide array of topics, from the dedication it takes to run a large academic department to what inspiration is and how it affects the making of work. A fascinating read!

Aaron Patrick Decker: What are your impressions of younger jewelers now coming into the field, at large and in Estonia?


Kadri Mälk: (long pause) It is very hard to generalize, even here the local scene is quite diverse. You can see more design-oriented work, more personal work. I try to encourage these people who are afraid of having somehow veiled, personal, or exceptional ways of expressing. If they compare themselves to what is happening in different places with people their age, they begin unconsciously to bring other aesthetics into their own work. Read more...


SNAG 2014 Lectures Now Available on AJF!

These podcasts are provided to you through the joint efforts of SNAG and AJF. There are eight lectures in all, recorded during the 2014 SNAG Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. At this time, you can listen to Tanya Herrod give the keynote address, followed by Sofia Björkman of Platina Galerie, art historian Jenni Sorkin, and artist Lauren Fensterstock

More lectures will be added as they are ready. Listen here...


Behind the Scenes with Suzanne Perrault of Rago Auctions


Have you ever wondered what happens behind the scenes at an auction house? Susan Cummins interviews Suzanne Perrault of Rago Auctions and asks all the important questions. Some very practical information here--for makers, for collectors, and for those interested in how these things work.


Susan Cummins: Do you see a growing market for contemporary jewelry?


Suzanne Perrault: As modern dress is ever more casual, jewelry that is fussy or delicate can feel outmoded. Contemporary jewelry can be the architectural focal point of a low-key outfit. The new wave of body sculpture often consists of materials less precious than gold and diamonds, and spectacular statements are born of silver, wood, rubber, bone, composite, and glass (as well as plastic, pencils, paper, found objects, etc.). We have been seeing an increase of such contemporary statements in both our modern design and jewelry auctions, along with a growing following of buyers. Read more...


On Criticality

The reaction from the community to AJF's critical reviews has been mixed; while most people agree in theory that criticality is a good thing, it becomes a little less obvious when theory turns into practice. So we decided to turn this into an open discussion. Reviewing the comments that some of you were kind enough to post on our pages, we thought the subject deserved a fuller treatment: the texts below bring you five different voices (four are included here and one more will be published next month) on the subject of criticality. This cross-platform collaboration is accessible on both the AJF and Klimt02 websites. 


The recent swell of comments on AJF--inquisitive in spirit, polite in tone, and well informed--is a far cry from the online venom that Margaret Eby reports most news writers have to contend with.
The New York Times beats AJF to a review of the Multiple Exposures exhibition at MAD!
Pah to bent nails! The Crave duo comes up with a nail-shaped vibrator (or more exactly, nipple titillator) that performs double-duty as a pendant, Dezeen reports. Move over Cartier! (For external use only.)
Putting bacteria to work in kombucha, designer Sammy Jobbins Wells harvests skin-like material and creates frail exoskeletal body pieces. Dezeen covers the story.
Zaha Hadid picks her favorites from the forthcoming Goldsmiths' Fair, highlighting her (or their?) preference for crisp, golden things.

Galerie Spektrum
Suska Mackert
September 12-October 25, 2014
Sienna Gallery
Daniel Kruger: Angle of Incidence August 23-September 28, 2014
Putti Art Gallery
Retrospective: 25 Years of Ted Noten/Gold Sweat & Pearls
September 19-October 11, 2014
Galerie Rosemarie Jäger
Ike Jünger
September 7-28,2014
Galerie Marzee
Marzee International Graduation Show 2014
August 17-October 19, 2014
Brooklyn Metalworks
On the Horizon
September 6-October 25, 2014



These books make a great addition to any craft-conscious library!

<<< Damian Skinner's survey of different facets of the field, Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective, with contributions from many thinkers on the topic, is a great introduction to the wide world of contemporary jewelry.


>>> Benjamin Lignel's AJF Best of Interviews is a look behind the scenes into the private thoughts of makers, curators, and collectors. 


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AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support Art Jewelry Forum every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you'll find the exact same low prices, vast selection, and convenient shopping experience as at Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price (0.5%) to AJF.


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