Sasha Nixon is a practicing metalsmith, curator, and jewelry historian. She obtained her Masters Degree in decorative arts, material culture, and design history from Bard Graduate Center in New York City in 2018, and her Bachelors Degree from Indiana University in 2010. She received the 2018 Windgate curatorial internship at the Museum of Art and Design, and is currently working with assistant curator Barbara Paris Gifford on MAD’s upcoming exhibition Robert Baines: Fake News and True Love. Her primary focus is the influence that ancient and historical jewelry styles and techniques has on contemporary art jewelry.
“Narrative” or “critical” jewelry made by contemporary art jewelers today is intimately connected to their artistic identity and primarily driven by a concept. This concept (or idea) is articulated in an “artist’s statement,” which develops throughout the artist’s career. This exhibition emphasizes the voices of twelve contemporary art jewelers that deliberately appropriate ancient and historical jewelry styles and techniques. These jewelry artists use the symbolic language of past jewelry forms, methods, and materials to reflect on the meaning of adornment. For this exhibition, deliberate appropriation was determined through artists’ statements, artist interviews, and other artist-produced textual evidence, with selections represented as quotes throughout the space as wall text.
Traditional and current processes employed by jewelers will be displayed alongside contemporary and historical jewels and artifacts. A View From the Jeweler’s Bench: Ancient Treasures, Contemporary Statements differentiates itself from recent jewelry exhibitions by focusing on the role of the maker in determining the form of the final jewel, rather than looking at the jewelry alone. The exhibition will illustrate the influential role that ancient and historical jewelry archetypes play in the development of jewelry styles and techniques, from the perspective of the contemporary jewelers.