When Jewelry Goes ‘Beyond Bling,’ It Can Be Serious Art

THE DAILY PIC: LACMA hosts a show of cutting-edge jewelry that pushes the discipline beyond carat and sheen.

THE DAILY PIC (#1666): Jewelry has the potential to be the most potent art form there is. Instead of being locked away in museums and galleries, it lives on the body of many or even most humans. So does clothing, of course, but where clothes can be chosen for (almost) completely functional reasons, jewelry is all about the symbolism and aesthetics that it shares with fine art. (Wedding bands and handcuffs might be two rare exceptions.) Of course, the great disappointment is that most even of the very fanciest and most rarefied jewelry – especially the fanciest and most rarefied jewelry – is, in properly artistic terms, utter crap.

Exceptions to that rule can be seen right now at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in the exhibition called “Beyond Bling,” which presents jewelry of such substance that it really does deserve the status of art – including today’s Daily Pic, which is a ring that Bernhard Schobinger made in 2010 by impaling a chunk of smoky quartz on a countersink nail.

I wrote an essay for the show’s catalog that sets out my views on the extraordinary promise of serious jewelry, and on the forces that prevent it being realized. “Beyond Bling” is fighting the good fight against those same forces. (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Gift of Lois and Bob Boardman, © Bernhard Schobinger / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ProLitteris, Zürich; photo © Museum Associates / LACMA)

For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.

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