Alena Willroth Wins Museum of Arts and Design's Inaugural LOOT Acquisition Prize
Shannon R. Stratton, Chief Curator of the Museum of Arts and Design, announced this week that designer Alena Willroth has been awarded the inaugural LOOT Acquisition Prize on the occasion of the sixteenth edition of LOOT: MAD About Jewelry, the Museum's annual exhibition and sale of designs by international emerging and acclaimed jewelry artists.
"This year, we wished to formalize our previously unpublicized practice of acquiring works from LOOT Jewelry artists into the Museum's permanent jewelry collection," said Stratton. "The LOOT Acquisition Prize seeks to recognize a LOOT jewelry artist whose work reflects maturity in artistry and concept, exhibits superior and experimental understanding of materials and form, and demonstrates expertise in technique and execution. Alena's unusual technique and the sophistication of her pieces really interest us. The necklace we chose is sculptural in nature and fully resolved as a work. There is no sign of a clasp or any other indicators that you might associate with jewelry. It is arresting to look at, and fits with the rest of our collection."
Chaired by Stratton, the jury-Michele Cohen, Angela Cummings, Barbara Paris Gifford, Joan Hornig, Bryna Pomp and Kay Unger-selected the 2016 LOOT Acquisition Prize from a shortlist selected by Stratton and Gifford, Assistant Curator. The prize was awarded on April 11 at the LOOT opening benefit dinner.
"I was already thrilled to have been chosen to participate in LOOT: MAD About Jewelry," stated Willroth. "I am deeply honored to receive this prize and have my work acquired by the Museum."
Czech-born, Berlin-based jeweler Willroth creates highly intricate and playful works using the plastic polyethylene. She begins her work by hand, drawing designs in pencil before cutting the material with a surgical knife and heating it with a special welding process of her own design to create the final form. Willroth studied history and philosophy at Charles University in Prague and fashion design at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. Her "Blue Foraminifer" necklace from her Slast (Czech for "delight") collection will be acquired by the Museum.
Forty-four artists from seventeen countries-Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan (the first time artists from this nation have participated), the United Kingdom and the United States-have been invited to participate in this year's edition ofLOOT after months of travel and research by curator Bryna Pomp. The exhibition features an extraordinary array of new materials, techniques and innovations in studio and art jewelry. Past LOOT Artists that have had works acquired by the Museum include well-established art jeweler Iris Nieuwenburg and emerging jewelry artist Casey Sobel.
LOOT: MAD About Jewelry is in keeping with the MAD's commitment to the exploration of materials and process, as well as its long-standing presentation of jewelry as an art form. MAD is the only American museum with a gallery dedicated to the display of both temporary jewelry exhibits and its own collection of contemporary and modern studio and art jewelry.
The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) champions contemporary makers across creative fields, presenting artists, designers and artisans who apply the highest level of ingenuity and skill to their work. Since the Museum's founding in 1956 by philanthropist and visionary Aileen Osborn Webb, MAD has celebrated all facets of making and the creative processes by which materials are transformed, from traditional techniques to cutting-edge technologies. Today, the Museum's curatorial program builds upon a rich history of exhibitions that emphasize a cross-disciplinary approach to art and design, and reveals the workmanship behind the objects and environments that shape our everyday lives. MAD provides an international platform for practitioners who are influencing the direction of cultural production and driving twenty-first-century innovation, fostering a participatory setting for visitors to have direct encounters with skilled making and compelling works of art and design.