Reading Craft Book Event—In Flux: American Jewelry Packed a Punch in the Turbulent 1960s and 70s
This presentation features authors Susan Cummins and Cindi Strauss, two of the three authors of In Flux: American Jewelry and the Counterculture. They provide insight into the period, artists, and jewelry that emerged during these decades. The authors will address these fundamental questions: What was the genesis of the project? Why did we decide to focus on American jewelry in the 1960s and 70s? How did we go about researching material and choosing the artists for the book? What major themes emerged? What were some of the most important discoveries?
This event was streamed live July 23, 2021.
In Flux: American Jewelry and the Counterculture was published in November 2020 by Arnoldsche Art Publishers and presents the early careers of a number of American jewelers including Ken Cory, Arline Fisch, Carolyn Kriegman, Thomas Mann, Louis Mueller, Joyce Scott, Don Tompkins, Merrily Tompkins, Lynda Watson, J. Fred Woell, and others. This small group of jewelers working in different parts of the United States began to make jewelry and other objects connected to the turbulent social and political currents that rocked America in the sixties and seventies. Often deeply invested in the struggle to assert contemporary jewelry as a professional practice, these jewelers opened their work to the issues of the day, commenting on or taking part in the significant discussions that were upending the certainties and status quo in the post-World War II era.
About the authors:
Susan Cummins has been involved in numerous ways in the visual art world over the last 40 years. She worked in a pottery studio, did street fairs, ran a small retail shop and eventually developed Susan Cummins Gallery, a nationally recognized venue for regional art and contemporary art jewelry. Over the past 15 years she has developed a serious contemporary jewelry collection featuring artists like Dorothea Pruhl, Manfred Bischoff, and Bernhard Schobinger. Now she spends most of her time working on the board of Art Jewelry Forum, as the Board Vice-Chair of California College of the Arts and writing a book about the beginnings of American art jewelry called In Flux: American Jewelry and the Counterculture with co-authors Cindi Strauss and Damian Skinner published in November 2020.
Cindi Strauss is the Sara and Bill Morgan Curator of Decorative Arts, Craft, and Design and Assistant Director, Programming at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. At the MFAH, Cindi is responsible for the acquisition, research, publication, and exhibition of post-1900 decorative arts, design, and craft with a specialty in contemporary jewelry. She has authored or contributed to catalogues and journals on decorative arts and design topics and has been a frequent lecturer at museums nationwide.
This event is organized in collaboration with the Art Jewelry Forum, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization established in 1997 to promote education about contemporary jewelry. AJF documents the evolution of art jewelry, publishing a robust online archive by independent writers—including academic writings, criticism, interviews, research, and commentary on art jewelry: 1,000+ articles reaching 860,000+ (website & social media). AJF also sponsors lectures, funds artist awards, and produces scholarly books about art jewelry. They have grown into a leader in the field.
Support for the Craft in America Center is provided by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture (www.lacountyarts.org).