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mima (the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art) has unveiled its brand new jewellery gallery to the public. In a joint project with Teesside University, a storage space within mima has been converted into a new gallery devoted to displaying mima’s outstanding collection of jewellery – arguably the finest public collection of international contemporary jewellery in the UK.
Although pieces from the collection have featured in temporary exhibitions, it has never been on permanent display before in mima: it is set to attract visitors from all over the world.
mima’s collection features jewellery from the 1970s onwards, when there was a significant shift away from the use of precious metals and gemstones: it includes jewellery made out of such unusual materials as pan scourers, rubber, horsehair and even human teeth. Nonetheless, it also features pieces in traditional materials and the most valuable piece in the collection is a gold bracelet worth £37,000. The jewellers in the collection include some of the most revered artist jewelers of the last 50 years, including Ted Noten, Gijs Bakker, Karl Fritsch, Wendy Ramshaw, Otto Künzli and Felieke van der Leest.
The collection has around 200 pieces in it, and over 100 pieces are now on display, including ten pieces that have already been chosen by members of the public, who attended a special audience panel at mima at the beginning of the year to have a sneak preview of the space being converted, an introduction to the collection and a discussion about what jewellery means to them.
As part of the project, talented jewellers Gemma Draper and Janet Hinchliffe McCutcheon were appointed jewellers in residence based at Teesside University, where they are creating unique opportunities for visitors to interact with the jewellery while sharing their expertise and skills in decorative adornment.
mima curator Alix Collingwood said:
We are extremely proud of our jewellery collection, which is unique in the UK in its focus and comparable with important collections of contemporary jewellery at the V&A and the Crafts Council. It’s an amazing resource to have in Middlesbrough and to be able to open it up to the public in this way is incredible.
Professor Gerda Roper, Dean of Teesside University’s School of Arts & Media, added:
Jewellery experts around the world know about Middlesbrough’s renowned collection and now they will have the opportunity to visit, making the town a prime destination for jewellery enthusiasts and creative arts students. This will be a lasting legacy for the region.
The gallery is being realized thanks to a grant of almost £300,000 from Arts Council England and support from Teesside University.
mima, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, is an internationally renowned gallery, which opened in 2007 to bring together Middlesbrough's collections. With a policy of accessible excellence, mima exhibits, commissions and collects world-class modern and contemporary art from 1900 to the present day: its collections focus particularly on drawing, ceramics and jewellery. mima is a partner in the Plus Tate visual arts network and is funded primarily by Middlesbrough Council and Arts Council England.
mima, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art
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