But if the crime is beautiful: Crafting dissonance

Lauren Kalman

Full text | PDF


Detroit based artist Lauren Kalman’s work consists of video, garments, installation, and jewelry. Minimalism, intellectual purity, health industry, and white male privilege are linked historically, and that link was codified aesthetically throughout the Modernist period. Body adornment as decoration can be a necessary interruption to the myopic intellectual order of the established lineages of art and design and established cultural norms more broadly. The legacy of modernism, minimalism, and the high arts (sculpture and painting) have historically privileged the cerebral over the corporeal. Crafts, in contrast, have long been associated with the domestic, bodily, and female. Craft materials have a strong tie to the body because of their proximity to bodies through jewelry, cutlery, vessels, hygiene implements, clothing, and so on. Kalman works with craft mediums and decorative objects as a strategic choice. Her work uses assertive and powerful performances of the female body in relationship to jewelry, wearable objects, and the built environment. She builds objects and environments that interact with her body in ways that are often uncomfortable and that question the status quo.


Art; Craft; Design; Contemporary Art; Contemporary Craft; Creative Research; Practice-led Research; Practice-based Research; Fine Art; Performance; Performance Art; Critical Craft; Jewelry; Contemporary Jewelry; Adornment; Decoration; Modernism; Modernist Art; Metalsmithing; Fibers; Video Art; Ceramics; Contemporary Ceramics; Feminism; Body Politics; Ornament and Crime; Adolf Loos; Social Hygiene Movement

To cite this article

Kalman, Lauren. “But if the crime is beautiful: Crafting dissonance.” Fusion Journal, no. 18, 2020, pp. 49-59. https://fusion-journal.com/but-if-the-crime-is-beautiful-crafting-dissonance/

First published online: July 2019

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Copyright © Fusion Journal