Picture: “Jewellers’ Hell”, 2018_Loukia Richards_Drawing on paper. Credit: Christoph Ziegler.
Gallery Ra, the historical gallery which for 43 years played a leading role in presenting and promoting jewellery art, as well as educating and training the public in the delights of the discipline, closes down. I read the sad news in Maja Houtman’s highly informative newsletter I recommend my readers to subscribe.
Whatever the reasons are, one cannot overlook the rapid changes in the industry.
Last March I was assigned to write a wrap up of Schmuck aka Jewellery Week of Munich 2019. The major jewellery forum which had ordered the piece, refused to publish my text, for finding it too “one sided”, although my reporting was based on “on the record” interviews of Munich jewellery scene connaisseurs.
I am afraid that the aritsts who keep ignoring the trend summarized in:
reduced buying power;
extreme – and not always ethical – competition;
buyers/visitors indifference for presentation schemes that prevailed in the past: fairs, weeks, standard shows etc. will experience tougher and tougher conditions in the years to come.
Other culture market sectors such as fine art, museums or even book publishing have already experienced “consolidation“:
the dominance of the few galleries/companies able to adapt to the new conditions.
A crisis always offers opportunities to the ones who understand the rules of the new game; and if they are too small as a business entity, like independent artists usually are, they look for niches or even make them.
Indy aritsts can indeed survive creatively and financially, if they use their vivid imagination, cool analysis and fearless crisis management potential to draft and apply new ways to present, to deal and to appreciate jewellery art.
Expanding the circle of buyers for jewellery art and related services- including and educating interested visitors/newcomers outside the present tiny small jewellery art scene, will be essential for surviving.
Loukia Richards is an artist, curator and journalist. An artist and economist, Loukia writings often focus on the economic reality of art. The latest project (WERT/voll) she so-curated along with Christoph Ziegler was sponsored by the Federal Environment Agency of Germany. Her next interdisciplinary project ΠΟΛΕΜΟΣ_War will be shown at WELTRAUM Gallery during the Schmuck Week / Jewellery Week of Munich 2020. She is the co-founder of the cultural exchange and AIR platform FaveLAB. Loukia is a nominee for the Herbert Hoffman Prize at Schmuck 2020.