Utilizing rich and varied materials like sea grass, silicone, recycled keychains, and bronze, the contemporary artists featured in this exhibition create evocative and poetic adornment. Each artist undertakes investigations linking media, conceptual threads, and notions of wearability. They create jewelry that also functions as a way to explore the world—covering topics such as organic growth; personal, cultural, and social history; pop culture; and heritage. What further connects the featured work is that every piece is new to RAM as part of the first round of acquisitions specifically focused on supporting artists of color. These additions reflect RAM’s desire to further broaden the scope of creative voices that comprise the museum’s permanent collection.
While RAM has maintained its status as the largest contemporary craft collection in North America for almost a decade, dedicated funds for acquisitions are not typical as the institution primarily relies on gifts of artwork. In 2022, the museum combined a recent grant focused on acquiring works in craft media with an objective to increase historically underrepresented artists and purchased the work of seven artists of color. Critically, most of these objects were purchased directly from the artists themselves.
Part of the recently formed RAM Showcase exhibition series, this first show to focus solely on new artists of color in the collection features the work of Lorena Angulo, Tanya Crane, Seulgi Kwon, and Georgina Treviño. Because documenting these artists and sharing their stories is especially critical, panels detailing biographical information and artist statements are included alongside the artwork.