By Loukia Richards
"Ocean Brain Brooch", double exposure. Photo: Chr. Ziegler.
For two years the Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible to hold Schmuck. March 2022 was expected to be the glorious comeback. But Schmuck has postponed the awards nominees' show to July 2022. It was a decision that landed like a blow on most of us.
However, not every show has been canceled. Art institutions and prestigious galleries have stuck to their plans and made Schmuck Part I happen!
In adversity lies opportunity – and the year of "double Schmuck" is a plus in many respects. First, Munich will be the focus of the international jewelry scene not once, but twice this year. Second, this spring established institutions and professionals had the opportunity to run the city-wide event traditionally held alongside Schmuck.
Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich. Photo: Chr. Ziegler.
The factors that in previous years had turned the 'city' event from a collective and unbranded meeting of independent jewelry artists into a pay-to-play vanity fair weren't present this year.
Before the pandemic, this city-wide celebration of independent artists lacked 'headhunters'; it provided neither 'synergy requests' nor 'job opportunities' but had become the playground of self-proclaimed VIPs who tried, often aggressively, to convince artists that they must join their network or perish.
The event has also become very expensive for what it delivered – namely, an imaginary community where everyone sold and no one bought; a venue where networkers promised ascent up a fictitious hierarchy to those willing to, literally, pay the price.
A successful city event attracts reputable decision-makers and industry recruiters to town; it brings job opportunities, sparks new collaborations, inspires and showcases innovative ideas, supports the avant-garde, and generates income. Last but not least, it draws the interest of the "real" Press with the synergies it creates between art, economy, and city branding.
Munich's Viktualienmarkt. Photo: Chr.Ziegler.
In recent years, local artists and local dealers – the true initiators of the original 'city event' surrounding Schmuck – openly complained about the loss of prestige, creativity, and customers. An inflation of low standards with no organic connection to Bavarian culture networks has faded even Schmuck's radiance. Marketing the wrong vision of what Munich can offer ambitious jewelry artists from around the world can damage Schmuck, the city, and the local arts scene.
This year, artists, curators, gallerists, and institutions can reshape the 'city event' through excellence. This is their chance to change the game. Will we dare to shape a Double Vision for 2022?
Schmuck Part I in March can remind the world of its high standards and set the bar for Schmuck Part II. The July event should strive to address new collectors, young professionals, curious visitors, and experts coming from other arts and crafts disciplines, initiating them into the magic of jewelry. We - jewelry artists, curators, organizers, gallerists, dealers - need to rise to the challenge, reconquering the jewelry world's most prestigious gathering with our passion for quality and innovation.
Tarot Moebling performance at Florian Trampler gallery, 2017. Photo: Chr. Ziegler.