Here in New York, it’s NYC Jewelry Week, an event that kicked off yesterday with a panel discussion on the work of Wallace Chan led by one Melanie Grant. The British author, curator, journalist, and stylist may be newly familiar to you with last fall’s publication of her wonderful book Coveted: Art and Innovation in High Jewelry (I received it as a 2020 holiday gift).
Earlier this fall, Grant worked with Sotheby’s to curate “Brilliant and Black: A Jewelry Renaissance,” the auction house’s first-ever exhibition and selling event dedicated to Black jewelry designers.
This week she unveils “Force of Nature,” another curatorial project, this one a bit smaller in scale and located in her home base of London. Staged in collaboration with the Elisabetta Cipriani gallery, which specializes in contemporary “wearable art,” it’s a selling exhibition aimed at further dismantling the hierarchy that separates art and jewelry.
“Force of Nature” will showcase nearly 40 jewels dedicated to an overarching theme of naturalism. Among them is a cuff that Grant herself designed. According to this post from Grant’s Instagram feed, the jewel came from wanting “to make something about the time we had spent in lockdown considering our lives. Peering into a #metaphysical mirror with absolute quiet and stillness for the first time was like looking into the sun. We are all different now.”
Grant joins the 17 other contemporary artists in the exhibition. With approaches both figurative and abstract, they are: Ai Weiwei, Bibi van der Velden, Fabio Salini, Frank Stella, Giorgio Vigna, Giuseppe Penone, Grima, Jacqueline Rabun, James de Givenchy, John Moore, Joy BC, Liv Luttrell, Lydia Courteille, Melanie Eddy, Satta Matturi, Ute Decker, and Wallace Chan.
Cipriani said in a statement: “The combination of artists Melanie has brought together signifies her determination to break down barriers between jewelry and fine art. It is a mission I share. Any artist should be free to work in any discipline, and the enormity of nature as inspiration dwarfs any argument to the contrary.”
The “Force of Nature” exhibition debuts on Thursday in a special preview celebration held in partnership with Serpentine Galleries. All pieces will be available to purchase by private appointment at Elisabetta Cipriani or over the phone until Nov. 27.
Here’s a look at some of the other remarkable “forces of nature” on view below.
Top: Self cuff in bronze, dark gray oxidized silver, and white sapphires, Melanie Grant. This is the first piece that the British author, curator, journalist, and stylist has ever designed. It will be available in a limited edition of eight.
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