Dutch artist Ted Noten is best known for conceptual jewelry that reflects his humor, rebellious nature, and interest in contemporary philosophical, social, and aesthetic issues. Reflecting the pervasive trend of art today, Noten challenges traditional notions of nomenclature, straddling the line between jewelry and design. Rooted in the art of the goldsmith, his work also explores the relationship of this precious metal to sculpture, design, and architecture. Provoking and perplexing, his work is sometimes situational, often taking the form of installation art or theatre. These mise-en-scènes, however outrageous, always contain exquisite elements of finely crafted jewelry.
Project Ten Ten Ten represents the first time Noten ever collaborated with an American museum. Slow: Eleven Women and 400 Daisies was inspired by the Mint Museum Auxiliary, who generously funded its creation. Noten spent time with the group, whose members are mostly women, during a February 2010 visit to Charlotte. He viewed them as “strong women, self-aware and intelligent” but also possessing a sense of humor. Noten’s experiences prompted him to think about the character of the American woman today, and he made Slow as an homage to the Auxiliary and to all American women.
In keeping with the hybrid nature of Noten’s practice, Slow is at once sculpture, design and jewelry, and functions both within the gallery space and outside it, on the bodies of jewelry wearers. Its gold-plated bust is a stylized portrait whose features are a composite of eleven iconic American women: Lucille Ball, Ava Gardner, Mia Hamm, Grace Kelly, Annie Leibovitz, Michelle Obama, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Oprah, Rosa Parks, Condoleeza Rice, and Rosie the Riveter. Covering this bust are daisies created with a 3-D printer and attached with magnets. Over the course of ten years, these flowers will be gradually removed until the bust is fully revealed. The removed flowers, which are actually brooches, will be awarded to Auxiliary members for their service. The title Slow is ironic: although the daisies are created via a rapid-prototyping method, the work will evolve slowly, and will not be complete until all the flower brooches are dispersed among the Auxiliary’s membership.
Project Ten Ten Ten commission, Museum Purchase: Funds provided by the Mint Museum Auxiliary. 2010.84 © Atelier Ted Noten, 2010