Having three of my brooches selected to be a part of the 2014 Schmuck Exhibition, a major international contemporary jewelry show in Munich Germany, I jumped at the opportunity to travel there and see the show myself. As an American, I had heard of Schmuck, seen the beautiful catalogs that were printed every year and knew it was quite a well attended event. But that was it. I didn't have much of a clue as to how things were run, or exactly what I was going to be doing over there for a week after I went and saw my piece at this one show.
I had no idea I would spend six days walking and riding the train from one exhibition to another and still not see them all. We ducked into a coffee shop to see spectacular work by artists from Argentina, found a bronze casting foundry with two walls in the back filled with the most delicate work made from butterfly wings and seahorses, went down an alley, into an unmarked door and up a flight of stairs to see the Ruudt Peters exhibition. The number of exhibitions was staggeringly large and diverse.
Artists from all over the world are doing pop-up exhibitions during this one week in Munich. While Schmuck itself has been going on 50 years now, the pop-up experience is pretty new, and growing fast. University of Georgia, SUNY New Paltz, and Cranbrook all had graduate students in attendance, and SUNY grads and alumni had pop-up at the Pinakothek Museum, just upstairs from the most amazing collection of contemporary jewelry I have ever seen, literally a who's who of international jewelers. I can only wish I had come earlier in my development, to really see the global field I am a part of. I was told that this year more Americans were in attendance than ever before, I'm hoping this trend continues to grow. SNAG conferences are good, but it is hard to compare with dozens of exhibitions with work from all over the world spread across a beautiful city that also boasts a one of the most important contemporary jewelry collections on permanent display in their modern art museum. I am already saving my pennies for next year.