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2005 SNAG Lifetime Achievement Award, Harry Bober

Author: Brent Kington

Harry Bober (1915-1988) was born in Brooklyn, New York. He entered the City University of New York with a desire to study painting. He was encouraged by the chair of the CUNY art department to change his major to art history. He received his M.A. in 1940. During W.W.II he served in the U.S. Navy. After the war Bober continued his studies in art history and earned his Ph.D. from NYU in 1949.

Harry’s scholarly interest was in medieval art. His dissertation was on the medieval Book of Hours. During his long and distinguished career he authored numerous scholarly papers, articles and books. He taught at Queen’s College, Smith College, John Hopkins University and Harvard University. In 1954 he joined the NYU faculty as a professor of medieval art at the Institute of Fine Arts. He remained there until his death in 1988. In 1964 Bober was named the first Avalon Foundation Professor of the Humanities at NYU. In addition to his academic career Harry was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the International Foundation for Art Research.

During his life Harry was active as a consultant to museums, private collectors and art dealers. He assembled a fine collection of mediaeval art. A number of his pieces were included in the 1968 Metropolitan Museum’s exhibition of medieval art assembled from private collections. In 1975 Harry was invited to curate the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition entitled “The Passover: An Exhibition” for which he authored the catalog for the exhibition.

I first met Harry in the early 1960’s when he was invited by Southern Illinois University Department of Art to serve as a distinguished visiting scholar teaching a series of seminars on medieval art. Early in his residency I looked up from my work in my studio to find him watching me. He asked me about a sterling toy I was working on and expressed interest in my metal working processes. That discussion was the first of many to follow. He was interested in metal forming, joining, and embellishing techniques. Often our discussions would lead me to demonstrate various aspects of metalwork that especially interested him. Prior to our first  meeting I had read the book, On Divers Arts: The Treatise of Theophilus written by a Benedictine monk in 1100AD. The book consists of three sections, one on painting, another on glass, and the last on metalwork. All three media topics were concerned with the execution of religious art. We had many discussions of that book as well as conversations on ancient and medieval metal work. His knowledge of medieval icons and stylistic images was fascinating to me. He had an indepth knowledge of The Sutton Hoo Treasure and was kind to answer my many questions about the find.

During one of our early planning sessions for the first SNAG conference I was named the conference chairman. I suggested the Harry Bober be invited to be the keynote speaker. I felt that a presentation on The Sutton Hoo Treasure would be of great interest to an audience of metalsmiths. Harry was delighted to be invited and was so pleased to participate that he remained a friend of SNAG for a number of years.

From the early 60s into the 70s Harry and I developed a friendship staying in touch by phone calls and lunching together when I was in New York. He owned a piece of my work and generously introduced my work to gallery owners, collectors and his friends. The last time I saw Harry was during the 1971 SNAG conference at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Bob Ebendorf had also developed a friendship with Harry and invited him to be a guest at SNAG’s 1971 conference banquet. Bob remembers conversations with Harry about enamel on medieval metalwork. Harry was particularly passionate about enamels, I expect because of the relationship to the pictorial imagery found in Illuminated books.

Harry had a long and very distinguished career. As a scholar he made many important and valued contributions to his field of study. He was certainly a friend of SNAG, understanding the mission of the studio artist/craftsman working in the media of metal. As an advocate of our field he is certainly deserving of the honor of being given the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Society of North American Goldsmiths.


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“Jewelry from the Edge: Everything Gothic” Presented by Marjorie Simon

Many of you have asked for a copy of Marjorie Simon’s lecture on Gothic Jewelry given at SOFA Chicago in November 2012 in conjunction with the SNAG exhibition there of work from the 2012 Metalsmith Exhibition in Print.

Read Marjorie Simon’s Presentation “Jewelry from the Edge: Everything Gothic”

More about the exhibition “Gothic: Sinister Pleasures”


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Call for 2014 SNAG Conference Presenters & Panelists

Call for 2014 SNAG Conference Presenters

Deadline January 15, 2013
The Conference Program Committee is seeking proposals for up to five single-presenter presentations. These are 45-minute presentations, and should explore the following:

  • What is the relationship between maker, material and ideas?
  • What does it mean to “buy local” in a global economy and what impact does buying local have on artists and the community?
  • What does it mean to be “handmade” in the 21st century?

Click here for full prospectus


Call for 2014 SNAG Conference Panelists

Deadline January 15, 2013
The Conference Program Committee is seeking proposals for a 1-hour, three-person panel. The topic of the panel should be oriented to emerging artists and explore the conference theme in some way.

Click here for full prospectus.


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Exhibition in Print 2013 Call for Related Work

Metalsmith Exhibition in Print 2013 – Call for Related Work
“As Seen by Others: Photography as Strategy”
Guest Curator, Susan Cohn

The photograph is an integral part of a maker’s practice. It not only records a work, it presents a maker’s intention and, as such, defines how a work is understood. More significantly, the photograph is often the only way an object is experienced; it becomes the filter by which the work is seen by others.

In our hyper digital world, the photograph has become more than a just a documentary tool—it is a pivotal mode of expression. Multiple image formats now coexist, and artists are increasingly exploring the formal potential of these imaging options. High-res images are typically used to publish work for catalogues and books as a way of arousing potential interest.  Accordingly, these photographs tend to be crisp compositions that highlight key details in design and production. The more casual camera-phone snapshot is gaining momentum on the standard studio photograph. Whether shared among friends or on social media, these images are often less polished and provide a simple likeness of the given object. Alternatively, the photograph can be a key device for expressing an object’s concept or use, enhancing the intention of the maker. Such photographs may be experimental or documentary, showing narrative or poetic propositions for a work.  The dynamic between these three photographic tactics opens up interesting ways to view objects today.

The 2013 Exhibition in Print will explore the power of the photograph to express the spirit of an object. Each work will be shown in at least two of the three photographic approaches above-–a formal high-quality studio photograph; a casual smart-phone shot; or an experimental image reinforcing the concept or function of the work. Guest curator Susan Cohn is seeking examples related to this theme of photographic translation.

For consideration, please send low-res image files to scohn@ozemail.com.au
Deadline for submission is January 15, 2013.

Susan Cohn, a Melbourne-based jeweler, designer and curator, is director of Workshop 3000 and holds a Ph.D. in Fine Art Theory.  Cohn is also the curator of the major museum exhibition, Unexpected Pleasures: The Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery, currently on international tour.


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SNAG Announcements – October 2012

SNAG is seeking nominations for the Lifetime Achievement Award.  This year’s awardee will be honored at the Toronto conference in May 2013. The award is SNAG’s highest honor and is presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of metalsmithing. Any member of SNAG may nominate someone for the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Nomination packages must include a resume or biography of the nominee along with a letter outlining the reasons for the nomination from the person making it, and at least two letters of support of the nomination from other SNAG members.

Nomination packages must be emailed to Mary Lee Hu, the Lifetime Achievement Award Committee chair by October 13.  Send them to m.hu@comcast.net.  All submissions must be submitted by email.

 

Metalsmith Magaine’s 2013 Exhibition in Print Call for Related Work “As Seen by Others: Photography as Strategy B,” Guest Curator, Susan Cohn.

The photograph is an integral part of a maker’s practice. It not only records a work, it presents a maker’s intention and, as such, defines how a work is understood. More significantly, the photograph is often the only way an object is experienced; it becomes the filter by which the work is seen by others.

In our hyper digital world, the photograph has become more than a just a documentary tool—it is a pivotal mode of expression. Multiple image formats now coexist, and artists are increasingly exploring the formal potential of these imaging options. High-res images are typically used to publish work for catalogues and books as a way of arousing potential interest.  Accordingly, these photographs tend to be crisp compositions that highlight key details in design and production. The more casual camera-phone snapshot is gaining momentum on the standard studio photograph. Whether shared among friends or on social media, these images are often less polished and provide a simple likeness of the given object. Alternatively, the photograph can be a key device for expressing an object’s concept or use, enhancing the intention of the maker. Such photographs may be experimental or documentary, showing narrative or poetic propositions for a work.  The dynamic between these three photographic tactics opens up interesting ways to view objects today.

The 2013 Exhibition in Print will explore the power of the photograph to express the spirit of an object. Each work will be shown in at least two of the three photographic approaches above-–a formal high-quality studio photograph; a casual smart-phone shot; or an experimental image reinforcing the concept or function of the work. Guest curator Susan Cohn is seeking examples related to this theme of photographic translation.

For consideration, please send low-res image files to scohn@ozemail.com.au Deadline for submission is January 15.

Susan Cohn, a Melbourne-based jeweler, designer and curator, is director of Workshop 3000 and holds a Ph.D. in Fine Art Theory.  Cohn is also the curator of the major museum exhibition, Unexpected Pleasures: The Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery, currently on international tour.