Happy almost New Year, shoe lovers. I look forward to seeing what footwear everyone chooses posted over on the forums. Theres no better excuse all year for glitzy fun party shoes.In the meanwhile, I bring you my review of the Boston MFAs exhibition of shoes, . Weve mentioned this one before, but I managed to go and see it with my own eyes last week. The show is still up until March 23, 2008, and Id highly recommend catching it before it disappears. Its made up of 28 pairs of shoes, mostly from the MFAs collection.The genius of this show is that its not all up in one place. The shoes are scattered throughout the entire museum and all placed in context with the art around them. So, for example, these jeweled pointe shoes are installed next to .
I think this is a great way to set up the show. Most of the shoes fit in perfectly with their chosen sites, and they certainly added a new level of interest to the various museum pieces paired with them. On top of that, the shoes really are scattered through the entire museum, so you get a chance to see a bit of everything in in the MFA collections if you hunt down all the shoes on the map provided.Its like a little treasure hunt around the galleries, with shoes and art as a fun joint prize to be found.I was limited to camera phone pics, and not all of them came out well, but a selection from my visit is below the jump.
French carved wood sabots with (in which the young woman is wearing sabots much like the pair on display).
This is a pair of 17th century shoemakers sample shoes, which are smaller than lifesize, and were cutely paired with this showing a shoemaker at work in ancient Greece. (FYI, if youre interested in more of the Greek comparisons, there is also a pair of Kevin Garnetts basketball sneakers and Dice-Ks baseball cleats cleverly displayed next to a case full of ancient Greek athletic objects.)
This duo wasnt paired with a specific artwork, per se. But they were paired with each other and then set right at the foot of the main staircase, which is currently decorated with sparkling white fairy lights and thereby fit completely with these two girly girly shoes. The black one is a Marc Jacobs 2006 cut-out wedge that echoes the 17th century slap-sole design of the white and pink shoe.
This is a pair of Turkish or Syrian next to Claude Monets painting of his wife in Japanese costume, , which he painted when Europe was going mad for Orientalist style and art.And further on the stilt-shoes theme, we have the next offering:
two variations on the womens pianella (or chopine), both Venetian and both displayed next to .
And rounding out the stilt category, theres a pair of early 19th century cast iron pattens (strapped on top of working class market-goers shoes to elevate them above the muck of the street) next to John Neagles painting of , where those pattens would have been made in the first place.
Oldest shoes on display would have to be these Nubian sandals from ca. 379-476 CE. Theyre in the Egyptian/Nubian halls, and Im struck by two things. One, that these leather sandals have lasted for such a long time and two, that theyre really not much different from strappy flat sandals youd find in any shop today.
The shoe Id most want to wear myself has got to be this Tatar boot from Eastern Europe in the early 19th century. My pictures of this one didnt come out at all, so this is the . These would absolutely turn heads in New York today.And, finally, my favorite pairing:
these 2006 Miu Miu wedges perfectly paired with some equally gilt, equally rococo wall panels.All around A+, MFA. Brilliant concept, great shoes, well done!