Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Metalsmith's Exhibition in Print

Everyone else is talking about it, so I may as well jump on the bandwagon...

"Metalsmith EIP, Another Diaster?" is a recent discussion on Ganoskin's Orchid forum concerning the recently published Metalsmith Exhibition in Print "Equilibrium: Body as Site". It has been a heated debate concerning not only this issue of the magazine but the state of SNAG as a metals organization.

My first impression when the magazine arrived in my mailbox was "UGH!" I thumbed through the pages quickly and set the magazine down in mild disgust. A few days past before I picked it up again. After I recovered from my initial disappointment and really looked at the magazine, my feelings changed. I have accepted the fact that this is an exhibition...and as an exhibition the concept "Body as Site" is intriguing and very well curated. This exhibition blurs the line between sculpture, performance art and wearable object...actually many of the pieces step over the line. Meaning, they are sculpture or performance art NOT wearable object. With that said, Am I fond of all the work in this exhibition? No...but I do like many of them and I don't have to like all of the items to believe that the exhibition is successful.
"Farthingale" by Jesse Mathes
(one of the pieces I did like!)

The question is (as debated on Ganoskin's Orchid forum): Does sculpture and performance art belong in a periodical (entitled "Metalsmith: Jewelry * Design * Metal Arts") that is published by a membership driven organization (entitled "Society of North American Goldsmiths")? My opinion is: Yes...as long as the organization, it's programs and it's publications honestly represent it's members on a regular basis. I think it is healthy for the organization to have an exhibition which allows the viewers to see something new and look at things in a new way...even if it upsets them.

The next question is: Do the members of SNAG believe the organization, it's programs and it's publications honestly represent them regular basis? According to the discussion on Ganoskin's Orchid forum, many DO NOT. And I have to admit, that I let my membership to SNAG drop several years ago because I felt unrepresented. With that said, my husband still is a member and believes strongly in the organization, so Metalsmith is always in my home.

This is the statement you will find on SNAG's website: "Who is SNAG? The Society of North American Goldsmiths stands for passion, innovation and excellence in jewelry, design and metalsmithing. SNAG creates community, professional connections, and the unfettered exchange of information." And this is the statement you will find on the editor's page of every Metalsmith magazine: "Metalsmith's mission is to document, analyze, and promote excellence in jewelry and metalworking" Perhaps with these lively Orchid debates and SNAG's current financial crisis, they will listen to their members (and X-members) concerns/needs and try something new and look at things in a new way...even if it upsets them.

4 comments:

kim* said...

i always wanted to see the guys in the balloons...

jon said...

I am happy to see so many people share my opinion of this EIP. It was another issue of Metalsmith that makes me wonder why I am a member of SNAG. I am still hoping it will change.

Lucy said...

Hi Danielle,

As one of the contributing artists in Metalsmith's Exhibition in Print I have been understandably disheartened by many of the reactions on Ganoskin's Orchid forum.
As much as I respect the opinions expressed by all of our fellow jewellers on the forum, I find your comment regarding the EIP particularly refreshing; especially your ability to re-evaluate the exhibition in a positive light despite your inital concerns regarding its content, and against the grain of popular opinion.

Lucy Rowlands
www.lucyrowlands.co.uk

Andes Cruz said...

Well said. I bet nothing has changed since you wrote that blog entry.

Their "who we are" definitely does not fit, and hasn't for many, many years....