Tiff Massey

When Detroiters are feeling themselves

United States

“Keep hold of the ethics of your culture”

The first black woman to graduate with an MFA from the metalsmithing department at Michigan’s prestigious Cranbrook Academy of Art, Tiff Massey creates jewelry and sculptures, such as wildly oversized hoop earrings and rope chains, that are often inspired by a tradition of over-the-top adornment in hip-hop culture. She stretches farther back for models, as well, to African traditions such as tribal hairstyles that indicated the wearer’s wealth or royal status. Referring to a series of jewelry in brass, she once said, “It’s all about that moment when you’re really feeling yourself.”

Massey’s work has won her awards and distinctions from the Kresge Foundation and the Knight Foundation; she has had solo exhibitions at venues including Library Street Collective and Red Bull House of Art, both in Detroit, and the Volterra-Detroit Foundation, in Volterra, Italy; she’s appeared in group exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, New York’s Printed Matter, and Galerie Marzee, Nijmegen, Netherlands, among many other institutions.

From the Journal

Tiff Massey: When Detroiters are feeling themselves

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