Charon Kransen, Joya 2018 Jury Member interviewed by Klimt02

Interview  /  Fairs   Curating   CriticalThinking
Published: 18.05.2018
Charon Kransen Charon Kransen
Carolin Denter, Klimt02
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Necklace by Liv Blavarp.
Necklace by Liv Blavarp

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JOYA Barcelona is the main art jewellery and art objects event in Spain. Gathering a great number of independent artists as well as related organizations, schools and other entities, JOYA  prepares to present excellence and innovation in contemporary art. 

JOYA 2018 will happen in October and with the 10th edition taking place. In this third interview, we spoke to Jury Member Charon Kransen wo is an art-dealer, gallerist & publisher. 
You have a rich history working with world-renowned jewellers, many of whom you represented in your gallery. Can you provide any insight into your daily work and the main areas of your expertise?
If you have your own business, your work is never done, so the days are long, but of course, we know that having been trained as an artist. Recently I read an interesting quote: At first, you will think of practice as a limited part of your life. In time you will realize that everything you do is part of your practice. The gift and the curse of being an artist are that the working day never ends. This applies very much to my work life and I am sure it has everything to do with the fact that I am involved in this field in various ways: art fairs, curating, lecturing, masterclasses, book presentations, conferences, symposiums, jurying, receiving clients, visiting artists, etc. etc. Everything has to somehow fit into a schedule and that requires good planning and organizing.

Checking on your website, it shows that you’ve done at least 9 fairs in 2017 and many more in the past decade. Obviously, you have put a lot of time and energy into thinking through the art-fair model. How did you start doing them in the first place and what is interesting about its concept?
I never planned in doing art fairs. I represented jewelry artists ( mostly non-American ) more as a dealer, but collectors, other galleries, suggested I should show this rather ( in the USA ) unknown work at art fairs. So that is what I did, I think, starting in 1994 and every year since then. Coming from Holland the biggest challenge has been to change from a less-is-more approach and aesthetic to, as many people in the USA think, a more-is-not-enough approach. So the presentations were never minimal. At an art fair clients want to see a lot in order to be able to choose/select, very different than the European approach. For many years I have shown work in cases exclusively, but for many years I have show most work on the wall or on shelves. It creates much less of a distance for the public. We want to surprise and show a collection which in many ways is refreshing and innovative.

  •  A lot of work being presented to the outside world, is not quite ready to leave the studio, simply because it is unresolved and needs more exploration.

What is the current position of art jewellery on the global market? Is it harder for jewellers to find representation, the audience and get the recognition they deserve?
Selling contemporary jewelry is difficult and has always been difficult. The market is rather small compared to the commercial/traditional jewelry market. Most people want what already exists. What contemporary jewelry artists make, is something people don’t even know they want or desire..........
The term contemporary jewelry or art jewelry or studio jewelry is being used left and right and in many cases unjustly. A lot of work being presented to the outside world, is not quite ready to leave the studio, simply because it is unresolved and needs more exploration. Many artists also don’t really fully comprehend what it means to make a commitment to a gallery, being the most important professional relationship for an artist. In school, we are not being trained in that respect. We long for recognition but often we don’t have the insight and patience to understand that recognition will come as a result of making great work.

What will be the main things attracting people to attend this year’s JOYA, both, as visitor and exhibitor?
Make sure as an artist that you present a vision and that this vision should be coherent. Show an in-depth collection which shows your creative talents and mind and show your uniqueness. Unfinished or unresolved work is not an option. Show the best you have!! Always!!

About the judging process for the JOYA 2018 Award: How will you decide about design and quality and what makes a good piece of jewellery for you?
My former professor always said that a work is good when the sum of all the aspects are good; front side, the back side, concept, execution, innovative, technique etc. etc... if one part is unfinished or unresolved, it affects the whole work. As a viewer, you want to get the gift of an artist mind, because that is so inspiring and empowering and it stretches your own brains. I personally want to be surprised.

About the Interviewee

Charon Kransen established Charon Kransen Arts in New York City in 1993, in order to promote exciting jewelry from around the world in North America. The work is presented annually at various American art fairs, such as SOFA New York, SOFA Chicago, SOFA Santa Fe and Art Palm Beach and the Int. Art and Design Fair in New York and at select galleries specializing in contemporary crafts and design. As a private dealer, Charon Kransen Arts welcomes individuals, collectors, and museums to the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The collection consists of jewelry, hollowware and accessories by both renowned and emerging artists, whose work may be found in museum and private collections around the world. The focus is on the artists' personal vision and on an innovative approach, characterized by the use of a wide spectrum of materials from paper to precious. The educational branch of Charon Kransen Arts includes lectures and seminars throughout the USA, Europe, Australia and South America and the distribution of books and exhibition catalogs on all aspects of jewelry, metal, and design