In Competition

Is it a need or a compulsion to dominate? News about competition(s) in arts and crafts in Art Aurea, issue 56, Summer 2024.

In ancient Greece, competition in art and sport, known as agon, was a fundamental principle of culture. Legendary artist duels have been known since the Renaissance, for example, between Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. The institutionalization of competition in art began in 1667 with the Salon de Paris of the Sun King Louis XIV, who propagated courtly tastes in art. In 1863, French Impressionists organized the first Salon des Refusés, the Salon of the Rejected, which is considered the beginning of Modernism.

Curated exhibitions at museums and galleries, as well as competitions in which juries make decisions, are now widespread around the globe. The invention of the internet accelerated the processes. 

The Loewe Foundation Craft Prize is a competition that has set new standards for the arts and crafts. Top quality is guaranteed by prize money of 50,000 euros, a worldwide call for entries, a first-class pre-selection panel, an expert jury and impeccable organization. In addition, the prize brings about a developmental process that changes the world’s perception of craftsmanship. Our contribution shows detailed photos of this year’s competition of rare beauty.

Ozioma Onuzulike, Nigeria. Embroidered Royal Jumper for Peter Obi, 2023. Clay, ash glaze, recycled glass, engobe and copper wire, 224 x 230 x 12 cm. It made it to the final selection of the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize 2024 and can be seen at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris until 9 June 2024. © Loewe Foundation.

Claus Bury was born into a family of jewelers in Hanau in 1946 and seemed predestined to take over his parents’ business. But after studying at the Hanau Drawing Academy and the Pforzheim Art and Crafts School, he preferred to become a jewelry artist. Between the 1960s and 1980s, the goal of renewing the convention-bound goldsmith’s craft with new forms and intellectual contents took precedence over any competition. In 1979, Bury decided to work only as a sculptor. Julie Metzdorf visited Claus Bury and his wife Ulrike Müller, the former gallery owner for designer furniture, in Frankfurt.

Ulrike Müller and Claus Bury at the beginning of 2024. The Little Beaver armchair by Frank Gehry made of corrugated cardboard. The carpet with the coral pattern is by Garouste and Bonetti. Above the sofa, a painting of oysters and lemons by Cornelius Völker. Photo Tanja Baer.

Tone Vigeland, who contributed to the renewal of jewelry art far beyond her native Norway, passed away in March 2024. Born in Oslo in 1938, it was not until the mid-1990s that her Riis Gallery inspired her to turn to her attention to sculpture. We would like to thank the British author Christian House, who wrote an obituary at short notice. 

Tone Vigeland with bracelet, 1980s. Courtesy Galleri Riis, Oslo.

Anna Wüller originally wanted to study graphic design, but her high school leaving exam didn’t work out, so she learned upholstery. On the campus of the Munich cultural project Bahnwärter Thiel, she rescues old chairs from a premature end. Anna Wüllen has little to fear from competition because skilled craftspeople are scarcer than ever. And on the side, she realizes her dream of doing graphic design and art. A contribution by Katalin Fischer.

An old armchair gets new springs. To keep them in place, Anna Wüller nails cords to the wooden frame, stretches them over the springs and knots them to secure the shape from all sides. Jute, filling material, more jute and a fine upholstery fabric make the old piece fit and fine again. Photo Noah Cohen.

Short Portraits – Curators Choice

Since 2021, we have regularly invited a number of curators to select artists for presentation in four-page short portraits in Art Aurea. Our goal is to continuously highlight current international developments in art and craft in a compact form. For the first time, Curators’ Choice was edited by our new editorial team member Ingrid Rügemer. You can look forward to five artists from five different fields and countries:

Claudy Jongstra, Netherlands, selected by Ingeborg de Roode, curator at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. By using dyes from organically grown plants and old recipes, the pioneer in working with felt creates intriguing and meaningful work and contributes to a better living environment. 

Wall tapestry Tangible Transformation III, 2023. 2.35 x 3.20 m. Drenthe heath sheep and spanish merino wool, mohair, silk, hand spun yarns. Natural dyes: Demeter certified woad, sunflower, coreopsis, madder root, calendula, walnut shells. © Studio Claudy Jongstra.

Zhao Jinya, China, curated by Peter Ting, co-founder of Ting-Ying Gallery. The artist uses the opaque and transparent properties of hand-blown glass. She plays with the tensions between colour, form and structure and explores the subtle boundaries of perception.

Domingos Tótora, Brazil, selected by Marina Figueiredo, Director of Sage Culture Gallery, Los Angeles. The artist creates his sculptural objects and functional furniture from recycled cardboard. 

Jérôme Blanc, Switzerland, curated by Lionel Latham, Galerie Latham, Geneva. Lines, the play of light and the beauty of the humble material wood are the elements that fascinate the Swiss artist. 

Stefania Lucchetta, Italy, selected by art historian and curator Nichka Marobin. The works of the jewelry artist impress with their complex geometry and their surprising lightness. 


Contemporary Craft. Tulga Beyerle about the MK&G fair at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg, its content, aims and cultural significance. 

The 2024 winners are Takayoshi Terajima, Japan, Azin Soltani, Iran, and Empar Juanes Sanchis, Spain, who lives in Aachen. 

A Chair and You. Director Robert Wilson stages a collection of chairs in the GRASSI Museum like an opera in four acts.

Director Robert Wilson called these originally arranged chair creations Bright selection. Lucie Jansch.

The anniversary exhibition at the GRASSI Museum Leipzig until 6 October 2024.

Inspiration and Curiosity. Eva Maisch is showing works by seven international artists at her summer festival at Lindelbach, Franconia.

Antje Brüggemann and Gruppe 83. Ceramics exhibition about a life’s work at the Berlin Museum of Decorative Arts.

Trees for the Celebration of Life.The exhibition 3 x 80 at Renate Slavik’s in Vienna honors three anniversaries and celebrates a long friendship.

Nevin Aladağ – Interlocking. Everyday objects, ornaments, music, sound and dance at the Max Ernst Museum Brühl.

The Summer edition has 92 pages including cover and is available from May 27 in leading German galleries and stores for 12 euros (EU 14 euros). Orders by mail to 

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