Non-Stick Nostalgia: Y2K Retrofuturism in Contemporary Jewelry

21 March–21 July 2019

Exhibition Overview

Hansel Tai, Daddy Issues, 2015. Acrylic, brass, 24k gold, and UV printing. 3 3/8 x 1 9/16 x 13/16 in.

Contemporary jewelry—the personal expressiveness it stands for, and the combustion of tradition and technology bubbling in the core of its material DNA—is a uniquely telling manifestation of the psyche of our time. Non-Stick Nostalgia: Y2K Retrofuturism in Contemporary Jewelry highlights the work of twenty-six national and international artists who explore the friction between the analog and the digital. The exhibition also includes a selection of pieces from MAD’s permanent collection that present different interpretations of futurism in jewelry. The featured contemporary pieces channel an aesthetic that is plastic and pixelated, vibrant and glossy, amorphous or chromed, echoing the post-nascent Internet culture that has evolved since the dawn of the twenty-first century. Like the cultivated digitized images of millennial cyber personas, jewelry has become hyper-real. Together, they are in idyllic sync.

Whether born from predication, nostalgia, or a combination of the two, the jewelry acts as a proposition: Could it allow us to become the perfect avatars—our maximal, fully realized selves?

Since 1956, MAD has collected and shown innovative studio and contemporary jewelry that lies at the intersection of art, craft, and design and challenges the boundaries of the medium. This exhibition exemplifies the Museum’s continued dedication to supporting emerging and established jewelry artists and new concepts that evolve the understanding of the field.

(Photo by Peipei Chen, courtesy the artist.)

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