Otto Kunzli Buries Jewelry’s Treasure

THE DAILY PIC: The Met's show forsakes glitz in favor of substance.


Today’s Pic shows The Metropolitan Museum of Art just about redeeming itself from the disgrace of the show it gave, last year, to the high-net-worth kitsch of Parisian jeweler J.A.R. The Met’s redemption comes about thanks to a show called “Unique by Design: Contemporary Jewelry in the Donna Schneier Collection.” That show, too, has more bling than it should, but it also has objects such as this bracelet called “Gold Makes You Blind”, by the great Swiss avant-gardist Otto Kunzli. Kunzli is to J.A.R. what Marcel Duchamp is to painter-of-light Thomas Kinkade. Except that Kunzli is deliberately going after the J.A.R.s of this world, who care more about glitz and glamor and pointless craft than about the intellectual substance of art. Kunzli’s piece is (in theory, but unprovably) a bracelet made of massy gold that he’s covered in black rubber, denying its wearer the pleasure of conspicuous display. (Of course, there’s just a chance that hiding your golden hoard is actually the most conspicuous display of all–and I think Kunzli’s perfectly aware of that.)

As a special treat, I’m offering a second image from the show. Below is a ring by Karl Fritsch that goes down the same road as Kunzli’s bracelet, just not quite as far. It is made of silver and diamonds, but the silver is deliberately tarnished and the stones are left rough.

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