The first SNAG exhibition, Goldsmith ‘70, was held in 1970 and was curated by Stanley Lechtzin and John Prip. It took place at the Minnesota Museum of Art in Minneapolis and highlighted the proficiency of an art form (jewelry and metal vessels) that more or less began after World War II and was, at that time, found to be maturing to the point of being ready for a museum exhibition.
A copy of the original Goldsmith ’70 exhibition catalog can be found here.
You can also click here to see images and descriptions of all the pieces from the catalog, located in the American Craft Council Library & Archives Digital Collection.
To quote Stanley Lechtzin from his curator’s statement:
“The high level of technical competence displayed by most of the entered work was pleasantly surprising and encouraging. As recently as five years ago, this degree of skill was not common in American metalsmithing. This can be directly attributed, I feel, to the numerous excellent metalsmithing and jewelry programs presently being offered in the universities and colleges. The young craftsman today is being exposed to tools and techniques which were not available to his predecessors. It is apparent that a tradition of excellence is developing.”
Unfortunately, the original catalog does not have images of every piece in the exhibition.
Even though the title of the exhibition included the word Goldsmith, it had very little gold.
To quote John Prip from his curator’s statement written in 1970:
“…we must be aware of the large number of young people currently choosing metalsmithing as their life work. We are just beginning to hear from them.”