Unexpected Pleasures: The Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery



Design Museum

Until Sun Mar 3 2013


'Yellow Kelly', 2008, by Felieke van der Leest photo: Eddo Hartmann

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Jack Meyer

This could have been a great exhibition, showcasing the work of brilliant art jewellers from the past 50 years up until now. And there are definitely some pieces worth seeing at this show, particularly if you've never heard of studio jewellers or wearable art. Sadly, the exhibition is sabotaged by bad presentation (Why no hand or body models? Why so few photographs of pieces actually being worn?), unreadably dense text descriptions, and an under-representation of recent work (the average age of the pieces on show here is 30+ years old). Rather than showing off the beautiful and challenging work of exciting and brave designers in this still living craft, the whole exhibition feels tired and dated. Even Wendy Ramshaw's normally immaculate rings are drooping sadly on their mandrels tucked away in a corner under a bell jar. Such a wasted opportunity.


This exhibit was very disappointing. £10 to see a few bits of broken bottle necklaces and paperclips attached to a drain strainer. The museum is setting up a new exhibit so only one room. I won't be returning.