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The Brooklyn Museum presents 'Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe'
Vivienne Westwood. “Super Elevated Gillie,” 1993. Courtesy of Vivienne Westwood. Photo: Jay Zukerkorn.



BROOKLYN, NY.- One of the most provocative and iconic objects of desire is being explored in the exhibition Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe, on view at the Brooklyn Museum September 10, 2014, through February 15, 2015. Through more than 160 artfully-crafted historical and contemporary high heels from the seventeenth century through the present, the exhibition examines the mystique and transformative power of the elevated shoe and its varied connections to fantasy, power, and identity.

Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe has been organized in six thematic sections—Revival and Reinterpretation, Rising in the East, Glamour and Fetish, Architecture, Metamorphosis, and Space Walk— encompassing early forms of the elevated shoe, architecturally-inspired wedges and platforms, razor-sharp stilettos, and shoes that defy categorization. The exhibition also features six short films inspired by high heels that were specifically commissioned for this exhibition from artists Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh, Zach Gold, Steven Klein, Nick Knight, Marilyn Minter, and Rashaad Newsome.

The objects, both traditionally made and conceptual in nature, explore and play with the elevated shoe’s sculptural, architectural, and artistic possibilities. Early shoes on view include mid-seventeenth century Italian chopines made of silk, leather, and wood, European leather and metal pattens from the eighteenth century, and nineteenth-century cotton and silk embroidered Manchu platform shoes from China. Other highlights of Killer Heels are Marilyn Monroe’s Ferragamo stilettos (1959); stiletto mules of silk, metal, and glass by Roger Vivier for House of Dior (1960); and a wool “heel hat” made by Elsa Schiaparelli in collaboration with Salvador Dalí (1937–38). Contemporary heels in the exhibition include “Printz,” from Christian Louboutin’s Spring/Summer 2013–14 collection; Céline’s fur pump (2013) covered in mink; a black leather platform bootie with an 8-inch heel designed by United Nude for Lady Gaga (2012); and several other designs made in collaboration with United Nude, such as Zaha Hadid’s chromed vinyl rubber, kid nappa leather, and fiberglass “Nova” shoe (2013); and Iris van Herpen’s 3-D printed heel, “Beyond Wilderness” (2013).

Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe is organized by Lisa Small, Curator of Exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, and will present works on loan from both established and emerging designers and fashion houses, including Manolo Blahnik, Chanel, Tom Ford, Zaha Hadid X United Nude, Pierre Hardy, Iris van Herpen X United Nude, Nicholas Kirkwood, Christian Louboutin, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Winde Rienstra, Elsa Schiaparelli, Noritaka Tatehana, and Vivienne Westwood, as well as works from the Bata Shoe Museum and the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that include classic shoes by André Perugia, Pietro Yantorny, Salvatore Ferragamo, Roger Vivier, and Beth Levine.










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