MAD: Fake News and True Love — Fourteen Stories by Robert Baines
Museum of Arts and Designhttps://madmuseum.org/
2 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019
It’s easy to fall into the trap of sensational headlines. Even careful and informed readers must work to resist the pull of fake news, a phenomenon currently dominating American media. In his solo exhibition Fake News and True Love: Fourteen Stories by Robert Baines, the Australian contemporary artist explores this issue through the lens of jewelry. By making up and “fact-checking” news stories to accompany his works, Baines manipulates what is accepted as truth to address the influence that fake news has on our perception of events.
Fake News and True Love is a clever examination of jewelry as a document of popular cultural history. The artist’s fanciful pieces and accompanying “evidence” encourage belief in the fourteen stories he presents. Baines has fabricated alternate realities that span from B.C.E. to the present day and encompass an equally wide range of topics, including migration, conspiracy, forgery, celebrity, and politics. His rings, parures, neckpieces, and bracelets show the misunderstandings that design can create, emphasizing the constructed nature of collective history. Through satire and humor, he cautions that linear narration can be confused with myth, riddle, puzzle, and possible subversions of history. Is the story true or fake?
Robert Baines has shaped the fields of contemporary jewelry and jewelry history for over forty years. In addition to teaching and maintaining his own contemporary jewelry practice, he studied ancient jewelry at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Sherman Fairchild Center for Objects Conservation, and masterworks in several other international institutions. Through these experiences, he has essentially learned to brilliantly copy jewelry—from the ancient to the modern—making him uniquely suited to a show of this caprice.—Museum of Arts and Design
Cover photo: Robert Baines, Five Rings, California (?), 1969 (?) Chrome plated, silver, stone (?), case, print, pen on paper 5 7/8 x 9 1/2 x 8 5/8 in. (15 x 24.2 x 21.5 cm); Collection of the artist; Photo by Robert Baines, courtesy Robert Baines. Museum Arts Design.