Larry Seiger came into Charlotte this weekend and we went up to the
Mint Museum of Craft+Design to see the Art of Gold exhibit. It is
awesome! Eighty pieces from contemporary artists. The one thing
that stunned me most is that this exhibit is a celebration of the
relatively recent phenomena of the studio goldsmith, in intentional
contrast to the mass produced factory gold work with which most
consumers are familiar.
This isn't an exhibit on the history of goldsmithing. You won't find
pre-Columbian treasures or work from early Etruscan goldsmiths. Some
of the work pays homage to those traditions with fabulous and amazing
granulation and a piece with natural emerald crystals... but it's a
modern application or interpretation of those traditions.
In the curator's writing, Michael Monroe embraces the studio
goldsmith as having been neglected and misunderstood... and dare I
say, under-appreciated. He lauds the artistry and provocative nature
of the studio goldsmith, contrasting the work to the conservative and
cautious nature of jewelry designed for the mass market.
The exhibit features contemporary work from contemporary artists.
While acknowledging many of the traditions of goldsmithing and
processes can date back thousands of years, it is the post-modern
artistry of today's studio goldsmith that allows a unique fusion of
traditional techniques with the contemporary vision of an independent
The show catalog ($19.95 at the museum shop) is beautiful, well
written and features excellent photo- graphy. My only complaint is
there are only 40 plates (photos) for the 80 works in the show. One
of my favorite pieces was a gorgeous black opal the size of a silver
dollar (about 40mm) in an elegant setting, and it's not shown in a
photo in the catalog. I guess my wife will have to go see it for
The exhibit is well-worth a day trip to Charlotte if you're in the
region, and possibly an overnight trip if you live further away.
Admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children. We took my eight year
old daughter, who enjoyed it as well. Before we left, we asked
Danielle which piece was her favorite. She said she couldn't decide,
because there were three she liked. When we asked her to identify
them, she made her daddy proud. The apple doesn't fall far from
All the best,
Charlotte, NC (USA)