Last night the Spanish luxury brand presented its annual Loewe Foundation Craft Prize in New York. The competition, an initiative conceived by the house’s creative director Jonathan Anderson, has become an industry phenomenon, homing in on the meticulous talent of under-the-radar craftspeople and creators. Emotions were high at the grand ceremony; there were celebrities, handicrafts, chairs you can’t sit on, tears, and a fabulous array of
The event was hosted at the resplendent Noguchi Museum in Long Island City, Queens, which isn’t so much a gem on the waterfront as a serene stone. “This is a very personal project for me,” Anderson said as he sipped a cocktail. “It really means something to me. When I started this job, I was like, How do I help people that I respect? And this is the outcome of it. Every year it gets bigger and more people apply. It’s one thing that I really enjoy!”
He added, “It gets harder every year because the caliber goes up. I think it’s started to make people look at craft differently. That was the purpose of the whole thing, really was to try to get people to look of craft.”
The submissions of the 30 finalists representing 16 countries are on display until June 18 and make a moving and cohesive group show set against the cinderblock minimalism of the late artist’s studio. Over 2,700 contestants applied this year.
Raconteur Fran Lebowitz was the surprise presenter and described surveying the entries with Anderson. “I did ask him why this is called craft instead of art,” she said. “Because in my opinion, let’s face it, the difference really is between usefulness and uselessness, and most of these things are useless—which makes them art.”
She continued, “He wanted me to say that many of the works used trompe l’oeil techniques. He actually described to me what that was, even though I was born in 1950.”
The jury chose Eriko Inazaki from Japan as the winner for her otherworldly, intricate 2019 crystallized ceramic creation . She will receive €50,000 ($55,225).
“I’m not clear about naming my works, whether it’s art, craft or something else,” she said through tears in an emotional acceptance speech. “But I’ve been working all this time with the belief that what is a good piece of work goes beyond the boundaries of categories. This was an opportunity for me to realize that my work would resonate with so many people. It is truly an honor, and I am truly happy.”