Alien Baby & Slime Pod by Danielle Karlikoff. Courtesy of 92Y, Current Obsession and the artist
WORKS IN PROGRESS pairs “curators” either from the traditional curatorial path or thinkers, artists and other visual contemporaries, with visual artists to create virtual exhibitions. Uncut Gems is curated by Current Obsession (CO), a jewelry magazine and platform based in the Netherlands. The selected international artists for Uncut Gems are a part of the GEM Z talent development program initiated in early 2020.
Curator and GEM Z participant Joannette van der Veer says, “Meet the Gem Zs: a group of eight talented, young makers and kindred spirits on a collective journey through the contemporary jewelry cosmos. Gem Z is a year-long talent accelerator program that offers a group of talented makers from the field of jewelry the chance to (un)learn, explore, and develop their voices and practices collectively. The main goal of the Gem Z program is to foster relationships between young creatives, cultural institutions, and the industry.”
“With Uncut Gems, I am excited to help amplify the Gem Z initiative, which is creating a global network of cutting-edge jewelry artists,” said Jonathan Wahl, Director of 92Y’s Jewelry Center. “This creates a virtual conversation that parallels what their parent organization, Current Obsession, has done in the physical realm.”
The art in Uncut Gems acts as catalysts for several 92Y interactive events: a virtual conversation and a hands-on art-making experience led by the artist to explore themes or techniques found in the work. Additionally, any art which is for sale will have 100% of the proceeds go to the artist.
The works by Gem Zs featured in Uncut Gems are:
Join a conversation with Marina Elenskaya and Frank Verkade of Current Obsession-the Dutch interdisciplinary platform and independent magazine to discuss their current project GEM Z, moderated by 92Y’s Jewelry Center Director, Jonathan Wahl. Current Obsession launched their talent accelerator program GEM Z in mid-2020 with the main goal to foster relationships between young creatives, cultural institutions, and the industry. Through the three main stages of the program, CO offers the participants a variety of opportunities to strengthen their creative and business strategies: from inspiration, to development and production, to curating an exhibition showcase for their newly commissioned pieces. Get an insight into the program and hear several GEM Zs speak about their work.
Marina Elenskaya is the co-founder and creative director of Current Obsession, she focuses her research on the advancement of critical discourse in the field of contemporary adornment—jewellery, fashion artefacts, AR filters and body modifications—as essential cultural and personal signifiers.
Frank Verkade divides his time between his own artistic practice and those of others, supporting artists through the nebula of skills requisite to a successful art practice. Throughout his career Frank has worked alongside creators such as Ted Noten, Bart Hess, Lucy McRae and Andrew Thomas Huang, and with cultural institutions such as the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Museum Arnhem.
Jonathan Wahl joined 92nd Street Y in July 1999 as director of the jewelry and metalsmithing program in 92Y’s School of the Arts. He is responsible for developing and overseeing a curriculum that has more than 55 classes weekly and 15 visiting artists yearly, hiring and supervising 25 faculty members, maintaining four state-of-the-art jewelry and metalsmithing studios, and promoting the department locally and nationally as a jewelry resource center. Wahl founded the only Jewelry residency in New York city for a Jeweler and oversees an active lecture program with notables from the Jewelry and Design worlds at 92Y. Biennially he organizes international trips to visit contemporary jewelers and historical collections across the globe.
Current Obsession (CO) is a jewelry magazine and platform based in the Netherlands. Appreciated for its experimental approach and unconventional style, it showcases new ways of presenting and experiencing jewelry. CO collaborates with exceptional designers and artists and develops curatorial projects and events with renowned brands and cultural institutions. CO connects diverse audiences in and outside of the field of jewelry and amplifies the voices of makers. The knowledge and expertise of its team, and their desire to continue to search for what is ‘current’ in the field, have established CO as a trailblazer in contemporary jewelry and beyond, making it the go-to platform for an international and cross-disciplinary network of designers, artists and initiatives. The selected artists for UNCUT GEMS are a part of the GEM Z talent development program CO initiated early 2020. The program aims to foster relationships between young creatives, cultural institutions and the industry. Gem Z will run throughout 2021 and will conclude with a showcase at OBSESSED! Jewellery Festival.
WORKS IN PROGRESS is an all-online art gallery / meet-up space / learning platform that convenes audiences with artists who are not traditionally represented in conventional exhibition spaces. Our hope is to create meaningful connections and inspire real conversation about art in this moment of global change. 100% of all artwork sold in Works in Progress exhibits will go to the artists directly. Extending far beyond the traditional e-commerce gallery experience, the initiative comes to life through curated exhibitions, live events, and art-making workshops. This initiative – housed within 92Y’s Gilda and Henry Block School of the Arts — aims to amplify the voices of artists through the work they are creating in this moment, and to provide new audiences with access to the art and ideas that are arising now.
WORKS IN PROGRESS is made possible by the generous support of Gilda Block. Additional support is provided by the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation.