Munich’s Schmuckwoche/ Munich’s Jewelry Week future challenges_Updated

If you find the following text too pessimistic, please consider:

Last year Schmuck lasted from Wednesday to Tuesday; this year it will start of Wednesday and will end on Sunday. Why do you think this is happening? (if not for a “bear” economy which means downsizing).

Our contribution to Jewellery Week Munich 2019 /Schmuckwoche München 2019 is the ZLR Awards:

We do not talk, we act!

The previous text starts here:

Now the Jewellery Week Munich /Schmuckwoche München 2018 is over, romantics recall nice memories and post their selfies in the social media, while sceptics think about challenges to be addressed soon, if a sustainable, innovative, independent and extrovert Munich’s Jewlery Week is to be wished – a JW comprising of appr. 100 venues in metropolitan Munich.

The following account of basic problems, Jewellery Week Munich 2019 contributors and players (the ones not participating in the Fair/Schmuck and Talente shows and/or the institutional programme of museums) have to resolve, aims at giving food for thought.

Having cureated five Jewellery Week Munich shows along with my partner Christoph Ziegler*, having been nominated for the HH award in Schmuck 2017,
and being a Berlin trained visual artist with a background in Journalism and Economics, I see following features playing a role in the future Jewellery Weeks of Munich namely:

1. The shows and events of Jewellery Week Munich have a minimal resonance in the art scene of Munich. This is both sad and strange, especially if we take into account that Munich – along with Hamburg – are the most affluent cities of Germany with a rich cultural tradition and a higly cultivated public as well.

2. Jewellery art is considered by many collectors and art lovers an “art decoratif/ornamental art”, thus having no “fine art” status. The fact that Jewellery Week Munich focuses exclusively on jewellery art and lacks – in the majority of the shows – an interdisciplinary approach to theory, context and praxis,
makes it even more difficult to attract local art lovers with purchasing power.

3. Apart from that, most foreign exhibitors do not really try hard to convince local art lovers and collectors that MJW is worth visiting; they do not know how, anyway; they do not care to know either; it is striking that the set up of Jewellery Week Munich : Munich – a city hosting amazing treasures – of world heritage rank – is ignored or not even understood by many Jewellery Week Munich participants who see the city just as the playground of their (comparatively insignificant – I dare say) shows. The local art scene – its taste, its history, its insider codes – remains a clueless mystery to the majority of international exhibitors who often exhibit inside a bubble addressing fellow artists, curators and academics who are being merged together by the medium they work for/with, namely jewellery. Thus, the radius of the art shown at Jewellery Week Munich is tiny; and limited to a small international scene of 500 people who tour all major weeks and fairs worldwide looking for inspiration, young talent, networking and some sort of excitement.

4. The isolation of the jewellery scene is partly wanted or even needed by some jewellery scene players. If the circle extends, they may lose their privileged position as “gurus” and “opinion makers” of an imaginary jewellery community.

5. Although there are no official facts about turnover in the appr. 100 venues inside the city, one may observe the interactions/transactions during the shows, and conclude that the turnover/sales is very low.
Lack of legal documents to issue receipts and invoices, as well as ignorance of selling strategies appealing to the German public also contribute negatively to the business aspect of Jewellery Week Munich.
It is a common secret that artists rarely sell their works.
Munich’s JW is more of a networking and promotional event; however, if the public does not visit Munich’s JW, then even the promotional aspect will sooner or later become obsolete, if not “really not worth pursuing”.

6. There is no quality standards/prerequisites/quarantee behind Munich’s JW.
Everyone can organize and promote an event by publishing it for a fee or even fee-free in one or more freely distributed maps.
What can be perceived as an expression of creative freedom and aesthetical independence has another side on the same coin:
non curated events or shows fulfilling no standard prerequisites often disappoint visitors. Munich’s JW runs the risk that disappointed visitors will not return and will not spread “the word of mouth” to prospective visitors.

7. In addition to that, Munich’s JW events are rarely backed up and supported with client lists, networks, word of mouth by the local gallery scene. Most events are connected to the gallery they are shown in only through a rental agreement. The same applies to local sponsors or tha lack of them.
These are all indices that Munich’s JW does not come through the glass ceiling of the extremely rich cultural life of the Bavarian capital.

8. The global financial crisis and the recent increase in travel cost due to travel sector consolidation, are also reflected in the number of Munich’s JW visitors.
The Opening of the Pinakothek der Moderne jewellery show on Friday 9 March 2018 has been attended by half – if not by 1/3 – of the (number of) visitors we witnessed last year.
If Munich’s JW does not develop beyond the obvious repetition of map/lectures/partying + concerts/ a limited number of good shows, it will lose ground in the years to come: a bunch of independent shows with no criteria of selection and no thematic categories operating on the edge of fiscal legality plus 3 days of fun is not enough.

As ZLR Betriebsimperium we strongly believe that it is the chance for the city of Munich, the Bavarian cultural agencies and offices, the creative economy sector of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Bavarian business sector and the cosmopolitan free lancers understanding how art and economy may work hand in hand in Germany, to co-shape Munich’s JW/Schmuckwoche.

We also believe that if Munich’s JW wants to survive instead of declining year after year, it has to envision a concrete strategy for the future.
Answering the following questions is crucial:

Whom does Munich’s JW address?
Who sets the standards?
Who outlines the playground for networking?
Who chooses the context and the content for communication strategies?
Who decides what exactly Munich’s JW aims at?


*Myths 2015 at Weltraum Gallery / Myths 2016 inside a van stationed at Munich central plazas put at our disposal fee-free by the City of Munich which backed us via “Platform” / Initiation 2017 at Florian Trampler Gallery / Initiation 2018 at the same venue/ The Sacred & The Profane at Weltraum Gallery.



3 thoughts on “Munich’s Schmuckwoche/ Munich’s Jewelry Week future challenges_Updated

  1. Thank you so much for this critic. I’ve been thinking something similar for years and always felt a bit crazy cause apparently no one else noticed it 😀
    Also: Where can I follow any update or open call for the Jewellery Convention Athens? Is there a Facebook page?
    Thanks a lot!


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