Buzz Says “Wish you were here!”, The Times, 7/3/07 [headline]

Souvenirs from the Apollo 11 Moon landing surface as the European Space Agency gears up for a new fake trip into space – this time to Mars.

Five rings in a custom case dedicated to Buzz Aldrin’s “little darlins” and outfitted with an image of the astronaut on the Moon have caused a “buzz” in the lunar conspiracy community. The rings have been set with mysterious stones. If found to be Moon rocks the rings will be unprecedented evidence of a lunar landing that has not come from a government facility.

Marilyn and JFK, Together Again! Tribune, September 30, 2012 [headline]

A mysterious ring has been found with a note that reads, “Jack, with love as always from Marilyn.” The ring is crowned with an image of Marilyn Monroe in a heart. When moved, an image of President Kennedy coyly joins her in the mirror. Though not much is known about the ring, the date on the note (May 29, 1962) suggests it could have been a birthday gift to President Kennedy!

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.

Fake News and True Love: Fourteen Stories by Robert Baines is curated by Barbara Paris Gifford with the assistance of curatorial Windgate intern Sasha Nixon. Previous iterations were shown at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, as part of the Clemenger Contemporary Art Award exhibition, 2006; Designmuseo, Helsinki, 2008; Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt, 2008–2009; and Handwerkskammer für München und Oberbayern, Munich, 2010.