With confident handling of a limited palette, Eva Gonzalez (1849 – 1883) elevates a pair of evening slippers into a mysterious and enigmatic portrait of modernity for The Pink Slippers (1880). A crucial element of a woman’s wardrobe, footwear was often fetishized because shoes and slippers were not meant to be seen, hidden as they war under voluminous dresses. Gonzalez emphasizes the intimate nature of these accessories by isolating them within dramatic play of light and shadow. An ethereal reflection is visible on the polished surface upon which the shoes rest.
Photographed as Part of The Exhibit Women Artists In Paris, on View Through September 3rd, 2018 at The Clark Institute, Located in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
Marilyn Minter’s sensual paintings, photographs, and videos vividly explore complex and contradictory emotions around beauty and the feminine body in American culture. She trains a critical eye on the power of desire, questioning the fashion industry’s commercialization of sex and the body. Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty, now on view at the Brooklyn Museum, is the first retrospective of her work. Little Girls #1
Spanning more than four decades, the exhibition begins with the artist’s earliest artworks, from 1969 through 1986, including rarely exhibited photographs as well as paintings incorporating photorealist and Pop art techniques.
The show continues with works from the late 1980s and 1990s that examine visual pleasure in visceral depictions of food and sex. I didn’t take any photos of the “Junk Shots,” as I like to call them, because that doesn’t really do much for me: I find it boring and it detracts from the other works, in my opinion. But if pictures of penises are your thing, them come on down!
The exhibition culminates in Minter’s ongoing investigation of how the beauty industry expertly creates and manipulates desire through images.
These fashion / beauty shots, which are all so elegantly manipulated and transformed, were my favorite pieces in the show.
This one is so beautiful. For some reason, it reminds me of an old photo I’ve seen of Peter Gabriel,when he was still fronting Genesis. It’s surprising to me that more Rock Stars don’t commission Minter to shoot their portraits and album covers. Maybe that is because there are no real Rock Stars anymore. Sad.
The exhibit also features a short, silent film called Smash, which I liked very much. In Smash, a pair of metallic-toned manicured feet wearing bejeweled high-heeled sandals kick and shatter glass, in the middle of a rain storm, or something. Smashreminded me of when I used to go clubbing back in the late eighties and early nineties. Good times.
Marilyn Minter: Pretty/Dirty will be on Exhibit Through April 2nd, 2017 in the Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 5th Floor at the Brooklyn Museum.
Lauren Kalman’s Tongue Gilding (2008), a digital print laminated on acrylic, entertains questions like, “Where does adornment end and body modification begin? How do we use jewelry to create and ‘ideal’ body? Can it create an ‘abject’ one?”
Trained as a metalsmith, Kalman has made gold body embellishments which, in order to be worn, alter the body in a way that may seem unusual or off-putting. She then documents the works through photographs that focus on these performative elements. At once seductive and repulsive, Kalman’s images ask us to question the ways in which we present our adorned bodies to the world.
Photographed in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Geez, how creepy is this thing, amiright? How many of you are thinking about The Gimp scene in Pulp Fiction right now? But really, this isn’t your garden variety fetish hood, but rather a work of art by Nancy Grossman (b. 1940). Snarl is a strikingly realistic sculpture created from patent leather, wood, paint, epoxy and zippers. On exhibit at Michael Rosenfeld Gallery in the Chelsea Gallery District.
If you are what some people refer to as a “Shoe Freak,” or even a fan of Art, Design and Fashion, you will want to hoof it over to the Brooklyn Museum to see Killer Heels, a fantastic exhibit of High Heeled Shoes that opened just yesterday. Geoffrey and I were lucky enough to attend the opening reception and party this past Saturday and we had all kinds of crazy fun.
Let’s relive the good times now, by enjoying some of my photos from the party and the exhibit.
To get people in the mood for shoes, Party-goers were able to get a temporary tattoos with one of two designs based on the shoes pictured below (which, obviously are part of the exhibit):
I got this one of a pair of Wedge Heels decorated with Flames! Fast!
Or you could choose a design based on these “Kinky Boots” fetish style Red Thigh High Boots!
They were also giving out the latest issue of W Magazine with Rihanna on the cover. She does nothing for me but people seem to like her for whatever mysterious reason.
Piper-Heidsieck was a sponsor for the party and their delicious Champagne flowed freely.
In addition to an open bar and passed hot Hors d’oeuvre, there were also some sweet treats.
Such as these Vanilla Cake Balls and also Milk Chocolate Miniature Gold Pumps.
Mmm…Little Chocolate Shoes.
Speaking of Sweet Treats, check out this rad cake made in the likeness of Salvatore Ferragamo’s very famous multi-colored suede platform sandal created for Judy Garland back in 1938! As far as I know, nobody even got to eat this cake, and that’s just a shame.
OK, let’s leave the party behind and go look at some Killer Heels. Here we go!
Killer Heels explores fashion’s most provocative accessory. From the high platform chopines of sixteenth-century Italy to the glamorous stilettos on today’s runways and red carpets, the exhibition looks at the high-heeled shoe’s rich and varied history and its enduring place in our popular imagination.
Candlestick Heel Boots
As fashion statement, fetish object, instrument of power, and outlet of artistic expression for both the designer and the wearer, throughout the ages the high-heeled shoe has gone through many shifts in style and symbolism.
Deadly sharp stilettos, architecturally inspired wedges and platforms, and a number of artfully crafted shoes that defy categorization are featured among the more than 160 historical and contemporary heels on loan from designers, from the renowned Brooklyn Museum costume collection housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and from the Bata Shoe Museum.
Close Up of Black Spiked Stiletto Boot from Above Display
Designers and design houses represented in Killer Heels include Manolo Blahnik, Chanel, Salvatore Ferragamo, Zaha Hadid X United Nude, Iris van Herpen X United Nude, Christian Louboutin, Alexander McQueen, André Perugia, Prada, Elsa Schiaparelli, Noritaka Tatehana, Vivienne Westwood and Pietro Yantorny.
Here’s That Ferragamo Platform Sandal Again. It is so Legendary.
Platform Boot With Spur
Presented alongside the objects in the exhibition are six specially commissioned short films inspired by high heels. The filmmakers are Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh, Zach Gold, Steven Klein, Nick Knight, Marilyn Minter, and Rashaad Newsome.
“Everyone loves to wear shoes inspired by the Guggenheim Museum!” I heard someone say about this pair of silver space age shoes. Coincidentally, there was a lady at the event wearing these exact shoes!
Horse Hoof Boots
Red Wedgewood Pumps
Almost Like Going Barefoot?
Chanel Light Bulb Heels
If Ace Frehley had been a woman, surely he would have worn these boots as part of his Space Ace costume in Kiss.
There is just so much great art tied into the design of all of these shoes, it was easy to feel a bit overwhelmed by the flood of genius and beauty.
What a great show! I recommend you go see it as soon as possible!
Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe will be on Exhibit Through February 15, 2015 in the Robert E. Blum Gallery (1st Floor) at the Brooklyn Museum, Located at 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York 11238-6052. Take the 2 or 3 Trains Right to the Eastern Parkway Stop.
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is a must-see event at the Brooklyn Museum, on exhibit through February 23rd, 2014. Presented in this fourth post from the show is our final set of photos, featuring one of a kind selections from the Skin Deep and Metropolis Galleries. Enjoy!
I’m not really sure who would wear this Nude Silhouette Dress, but it’s at least much less frightening than This Dress.
The Skin Deep gallery is set up like Amsterdam’s Red Light District, where each outfit represents a different “prostitute,” if you will. It is here that you will see extremely avant-garde-bordering-on-festish designs that were very challenging to capture in photographs due to the low light/ no flash double whammy.
Flayed Catsuit worn onstage by French Superstar Mylene Farmer.
Blood Vessel Bodysuit with Beaded Cap and Heart Handbag
I am pretty sure this is a costume designed for a specific Popstar, but I neglected to note just who (guess: Lady Gaga).
Celluloid Dress and Accessories made from Film Strips (Caution: Highly Flammable)!
I call this one the Green Peapod Dress!
From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk’s final gallery is called Metropolis and it definitely wraps up the exhibit on a note consistent with the high bar set by everything that came before it.
Couture Gown with Native American-Inspired Headdress
Leopard Pelt-Accented Gown
La Mariee Dress from the Tribute to Africa Collection
The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk is on Exhibit Through February 23rd, 2014 at the Brooklyn Museum, Located at 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, New York 11238-6052 (Take the 2 or 3 Trains to Eastern Parkway/Brooklyn Museum). The Exhibit is in the Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing and Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery on the 5th Floor. Admission to the Exhibit is $15 and is separate from General Admission to the Museum. Students with ID and Corporate Members Pay $10. Members see Gaultier for free. On-site ticket sales end at 5:00 PM on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and 9:00 PM on Thursday. Hours are Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Thursday: 11:00 AM –10:00 PM, Friday – Sunday: 11:00 AM– 6:00 PM.
Alexander McQueen was not so much a fashion designer as he was an artist who created wearable works of art. When McQueen died by his own hand at the age of 40 in February of 2010, the world lost a staggering genius whose contribution to the art world was, at that point, already unfathomably huge. Thanks to curator Andrew Bolton, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has installed a phenomenal retrospective exhibit called Savage Beauty that showcases the Haute Couture collections of McQueen in a way that will undoubtedly touch the heart and stir the mind of everyone who sees it, making the tragedy of his early death almost unbearably poignant.
All Images Courtesy of The Met. Click on Each Image to Enlarge for Detail
Savage Beauty is divided into six consecutive galleries entitled The Romantic Mind, Romantic Gothic and the Cabinet of Curiosities, Romantic Exoticism, Romantic Nationalism, Romantic Primitivism and Romantic Naturalism, and each one is a mind blowing experience on its own. On display you will see garments made not only of traditional fabrics such as silk, wool and synthetics but also many natural materials including feathers, horsehair, metal, glass, fresh and fabric flowers, wood, and even razor clam and muscle shells. McQueen also created unique, thematic accessories to accent his garments, such as elaborate headdresses made of carved wood, metal, animal horns, and butterflies among many other materials. His signature “Armadillo shoe” can be seen in a variety of styles and is easily recognizable as a style of footwear that Lady Gaga has made popular just recently.
While McQueen also designed ready-to-wear clothing, as stated previously, the clothing on display here dwells in the realm of exotic costuming and wearable art that was not really made for everyday use. Much of it also borders on fetishistic, and that adds to its incredible beauty and enigma. For example, there is one striking headpiece on display called the Crown of Thorns Headdress that must really be seen to be believed. Further, Savage Beauty is a multi-sensory experience, consisting not only of the stunning visuals created by McQueen’s clothing and accessories but also by the design aspects of the individual galleries in which the garments are displayed. One gallery is decorated in a surface treatment of ancient mirrors while another is contained amid walls of grey concrete, and yet another collection is displayed in a room with walls made of rusted metal. In one of the final galleries you’ll see the walls adorned in McQueen’s own drawings, which were blown up to create wall treatments.
The exhibit takes on an almost Disneyland-esque feeling, where it seems like you are on more of a theme park ride than walking through a staid art museum. Each gallery has accompanying visuals such as video screens on the walls or embedded in the ceiling and there is an amazing 3-D hologram of Kate Moss from one of McQueen’s later shows on display in one of the final galleries. Of course, no fashion show would be complete without a soundtrack, and there is music that ranges from modern abstract rock to tribal rhythms to Mozart, as well as sound effects such as the sounds of a beating heart and shallow breathing in one gallery while another gallery is filled with the low rumbling of an excited crowd. All of these different sensory aspects come together to make Savage Beauty’s “Oh Wow” factor leap off the charts.
You can watch an eight-minute video about McQueen that also previews the exhibit at this link. I cannot recommend this exhibit highly enough. In fact, I loved it so much, I actually bought the catalog ($45, on sale in the gift shop).
Savage Beauty runs through July 31, 2011 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, located at 1000 Fifth Avenue, near 85th St. in New York City. The entrance line for the McQueen exhibit closes at 4:30 PM on weekdays and at 8 PM on Fridays and Saturdays. Expect to wait at least one hour in line for entrance to the exhibit, but be assured that it will be very well worth it.