Since the mid-1970s, artists worldwide have reacted against the age-old exclusivity and preciousness of jewelry, advocating instead for conceptual statements creatively fabricated from a wide assortment of non-precious materials. With a 30-year-and-counting studio practice centered first in Europe and now in America, German artist Iris Eichenberg is one of the most influential contributors to this discourse. Because of her tireless interrogation of materiality, Eichenberg exemplifies what noted critic and curator Glenn Adamson calls the “post-disciplinary” artist. Instead of focusing on one medium and process, Eichenberg continually seeks to find the craft processes and combinations of materials that best suit the idea at hand.

In today’s world with its outcry for social justice, Eichenberg engages the viewer in conversations that embrace such timely topics as gender and queer identity; the search for a safe, welcoming haven; and the veracity of reality.

Iris Eichenberg: Where Words Fail, one of the Museum of Craft and Design’s newest exhibitions, is the first mid-career survey of her work, with key loans of jewelry, objects, and installations from international private and public collections as well as Eichenberg’s extensive archive. Guest curated by Davira S. Taragin, the exhibition comprises 40 artworks documenting the artist’s development from her groundbreaking graduation show at the Rietveld to new works created specifically for this survey.

On view now in San Francisco through October 30, 2022, the exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalog with essays by curator Davira S. Taragin and art historian Benjamin Lignel.

For more information, visit sfmcd.org.

Iris Eichenberg: Where Words Fail is made possible, in part, by the Susan Beech Mid-Career Artist Grant from Art Jewelry Forum. The exhibition is generously supported by Goethe-Institut San Francisco, the Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Barbara Waldman, and Rodney Turner and Ken Thongcharoen.

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