We’ve seen quite a bit of work lately that has been labeled as “conceptual” jewelry. This appellation is quickly becoming the catch-all description for just about anything.
Now, we’re not saying people are not doing conceptual art in the world of ornament. Far from it. What we’re saying is that the term seems to have been hijacked and bastardized to the point that it has become meaningless.
By definition, conceptual art is art in which the concept(s) or idea(s) involved in the work take precedence over traditional aesthetic and material concerns. Many of the works of the artist Sol LeWitt may be constructed by anyone simply by following a set of written instructions. This method was fundamental to LeWitt's definition of Conceptual art, one of the first to appear in print:
“ In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art.”
This quotation highlights a key difference between a traditional work of art and a conceptualist work: in one instance the hands-on skills of the artist are paramount; in the other they are not.
So, lets talk. Its just us crafty creative chickens here. What do WE mean when we say “its conceptual jewelry”?