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Zero Karat:
Jewelry in Non-Precious Materials

Tacoma Art Museum
Tacoma, WA thru Sep 11, 2005

Verena Sieber-Fuchs - Firecracker Necklace
Verena Sieber-Fuchs, Firecracker Necklace (1986), firecrackers, wire thread [Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma WA, to Sept 11]

The Tacoma Art Museum is featuring an exciting exhibition of alternative jewellery that emerged from the studio art jewellery movement in the late 1960s. The show focuses on the work of artists who pushed the boundaries between jewellery design and the sculpture, assemblages and performance art of the time.

Caroline Broadhead - Neckpiece
Caroline Broadhead, Neckpiece (1978), silver, wood, dyed nylon monofilament [Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma WA, to Sept 11] Photo: Martin Tüma

Using nontraditional materials such as paper, foil and rubber tubing, these jewellery designs were political, social and personal artistic statements. For example, Verena Sieber-Fuchs’ Firecracker Necklace, made of wire and actual firecrackers stitched together to form a fuzzy collar, is quietly subversive with the explosive material disguised as texture. Like wearable art, the unusual jewellery objects are given deeper emotional intention by whomever the wearer.

Robert Ebendorf - Neckpiece
Robert Ebendorf, Neckpiece (1985), newspaper, gold foil, hammered end caps, ebony beads, rubber [Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma WA, to Sept 11] Photo: Martin Tuma

Zero Karat was organized by the Museum of Arts & Design, New York. In conjunction with the Zero Karat exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum, a complementary exhibit, Beyond the Body: Northwest Jewelers at Play showcases local talent that demonstrates a similar conceptual basis and use of materials. Works of functional jewellery, as well as, large-scale sculptural pieces are on view. Artists in both exhibitions have given non-precious materials a new aesthetic status, one endowed with subtle metaphors and executed with remarkable craftsmanship.


Allyn Cantor

 Tue, May 31, 2005