JOYA 2015: Interview with Susan Cummins

Interview  /  BehindTheScenes
Published: 21.04.2015
JOYA 2015: Interview with Susan Cummins.
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Every year AJF organizes several activities for its members, including trips to various locations and events. This year the organization visits JOYA 2015, the contemporary jewelry fair in Barcelona that aims to present the best of art jewelry from around the world. In conversation with Susan Cummins, the board chair of AJF, we unveil the intentions of this visit.
After a wide range of travels to international destinations, AJF is going to Barcelona this year during JOYA 2015. Why did you choose this event?
Every year, collectors of contemporary jewelry who support Art Jewelry Forum gather together to take a trip to a location that is known for having great artists, fairs, galleries, or collections in museums or homes. Recently we have been to London, Munich, Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Tallinn. These people are interested in learning more about the places and the people connected to a practice they are passionate about. Barcelona is a beautiful city and it has a reputation for producing wonderful jewelry. We decided to schedule the trip to coincide with the JOYA events in order to be able to take advantage of all it has to offer in the way of introducing us to new Spanish jewelers and new events.

What do expect to find at this event?
I expect to find new people and new jewelry I didn’t know before, as well as see some old friendly faces. I also expect that the visit will give me a much better understanding of Spain and all the intangible things a traveler can pick up by being present in a new place, like the sounds, smells, and colors. By talking with the artists, dealers, and curators, we can learn about the history of the place and what is happening now.

During this time there will be a lot of side events in Barcelona. How did you plan this trip?
We have not completely planned the detailed schedule of the trip yet and will wait until JOYA announces what they are going to do first. In the meantime, we are talking to jewelers, restaurants, hotels, and curators about who and what we should see. It has been an exciting process and we hope to have the whole schedule planned by the summer.

Are there various kinds of collectors involved? What is the focus of this trip?
All the collectors on this trip are particularly interested in contemporary jewelry, so almost everything we do will have some connection to that. They can all see the beautiful Barcelona sites themselves, and we will give them the behind-the-scenes introductions and presentations for the things connected to jewelry.

AJF will also present a selection of books at JOYA 2015. Which publications were chosen?
For the past three years, AJF has published a book each year. The first one was a large and comprehensive overview of the field, called Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective. In 2014 we produced Best of AJF Interviews, which bundled together the best interviews from our website. This year we’ve just published Shows and Tales: On Jewelry Exhibition-Making. Our great editor Ben Lignel put together the last two books, and Damian Skinner put together the first one. They have all been very enthusiastically received.

The organization is also well known for newsworthy publications. How would you define the editorial slant?
Our editorial perspective is always changing and growing. There are some things that we have covered for several years, like reviews of books, shows, and other events, as well as articles that discuss issues in the field. Last year, for example, we did a series on criticism, which we feel is a big issue in the jewelry field. We also believe that artists have a lot to say, so we continue to interview them. But there are new pieces of writing and series this year that try to bring articles and ideas from the culture at large onto the AJF website: We recently published stories about Silvio Berlusconi kissing the papal ring, about the shift of wearable signs of self-identification towards hashtags, and about Lady Sitwell, the world’s first rapper. We hope that the people interested in jewelry are also interested in the ways in which jewelry of all kinds makes its way into our lives and adds meaning and value to them.

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