Super Hot Boots And Other Shoe Stories

These Boots Were Made For Walkin'

Mar 15, 2011 by

Every one of my shoes has a story. Each pair I own brings out a different side of my character – the sexy stilettos for going out on the town, the funky-but-classy heels I wear to my art openings, the comfortable moosehide moccasins I purchased at a Native American pow wow, and a pair of bright red faux-alligator shoes that I just HAD to buy, even though they were too tight, and I’ve never been able to wear them. (I keep them because they remind me to lighten up and have fun.)

But this modest shoe collection was no match for an amazing art exhibition I saw last summer that’s currently traveling throughout the United States. Think about what would happen if you took 100 visual artists from the U.S., Canada and Israel and asked them to tell a story through shoes. You’d have “The Perfect Fit: Shoes Tell Stories”, a brilliant look at style, culture, history, race, sexuality and social taboos……..through shoes. They’re all veritable works of art, and definitely not wearable, but each of them contains a powerful story, from the hundreds of bronzed baby shoes arranged in classical choir formation in “Baby Opera” to stilettos, chopines and Vietnam war boots.

The show first opened at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts, which was a major leader in the shoe industry. Guest curator Wendy Tarlow Kaplan was the “perfect fit” for such an exhibition. Her family had strong ties with Brockton’s shoemaking industry when she was growing up, and now with her 30 years of curatorial experience in the art world, it made sense for her to bring shoes and art together in this exhibition.

See more  images and stories from my visit to The Perfect Fit when it was at the Albany Institute of History and Art.

And here’s a great interview with Wendy Tarlow Kaplan, on growing up in “Shoe City”: Artful Soles

Following are the current venues for the “The Perfect Fit: Shoes Tell Stories” 2011 exhibition tour. If you’re anywhere near these areas, grab your most comfortable shoes and a few of your favorite Girlfriends and run to see this show!

Dates: February 12, 2011 – April 3, 2011

Kimball Art Center

638 Park Avenue

Park City, Utah

Dates: April 30, 2011 – July 31, 2011

Boise Art Museum

670 Julia Davis Drive

Boise, Idaho

About the Author

Serena Kovalosky Has Written 10 Articles For Us!

Serena Kovalosky left an 18-year corporate career in the travel industry in search of a more creative lifestyle. Establishing herself as a successful professional sculptor, Serena now travels with the eye of an artist, exploring artists' studios, eclectic restaurants and cultural gems off the beaten path, chronicling her discoveries and sharing stories of the creative people she meets along the way.
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  1. I love how clothes and shoes help a person express where she fits in the social world. My closet just demonstrates, once again, how I am much more like a 12 year old boy than a grown-up woman. Like many women, I have a closet full of shoes. Unlike many women, mine are mostly flat, athletic types of shoes with chicken droppings on the bottom and rocks wedged into the crevices. This was a bit troublesome the other day because I had been asked to the symphony. I have three crazy, fun cocktail dresses and NO appropriate shoes. Thank goodness for my housemate’s willingness to lend a pair of hers!

    I would love to see this show. Maybe I’ll find a way to make the trip out to Park City, UT.

    • I love that you have shoes with chicken droppings! It’s such a great symbol of your life right now!

      I must admit that, when I was living as an artist in Montreal, I had all the prerequisite funky outfits and shoes to go with them. We artists used to get dressed to the hilt to go to each others’ shows. Since I’ve moved to rural upstate New York, however, these clothes seem too over-the-top for the area and the artists (and many others as well) arrive at exhibitions in casual-but-dressy jeans!

      I do hope you get to see the show….it’s worth it!

      – SerenaK

  2. from GF author Serena @ArtfulVagabond .. Shoes as Art! .. /Toby #gottalovethisone

  3. Rebecca Crichton

    Serena, I wish it were coming to Seattle. Great review and I want to see your shoe collection, it seems like it would be worth a visit. My only rule for many years was to have at least one pair of red shoes. I need to go out and get me some! Rebecca

  4. Hmmm…I think I’ll wait until I can buy the goat shoes with the revolvers. 🙂

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