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Woman Around Town’s Editor Charlene Giannetti and writers for the website talk with the women and men making news in New York, Washington, D.C., and other cities around the world. Thanks to Ian Herman for his wonderful piano introduction.

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Shoes: Anatomy, Identity, Magic at The Museum at FIT

09/04/2022

The Museum at FIT enthralls fashion lovers and many more. Because Woman Around Town readers enjoy staying in touch with the latest and greatest events in the city, we know that the museum’s newest exhibition, “Shoes: Anatomy, Identity, Magic” will top the list of things to do in midtown. Curated by Valerie Steele and Colleen Hill, it just opened on September 1st and will be on view until December 31st 2022.  It’s nice to know that the museum is totally free for visitors.

Shoes on Display

Shoes are more than an accessory. They are a mark of history, a statement about individual fashion choices, and oftentimes, authentic works of art.  The Museum at FIT has assembled a remarkable display of shoes including ones that are stunning, elaborate, and functional from designers and shoe companies worldwide.

Glass Slippers

“Shoes” features more than 300 of the 5,000 pairs of shoes, boots, sandals, and sneakers of the museum’s permanent collection. The book, Shoes: The Collection of The Museum at FIT, published by Taschen accompanies the show.

Green Silk Brocade Mules

Visitors have the opportunity to experience their own relationship to shoes while appreciating footwear’s social and psychological relationship to culture.  Themes are well placed. “Anatomy” shows how we stand and move differently depending on footwear. “Identity” displays how we associate shoe styles to different people.  And “Magic” emphasizes how shoes can be life changing when people make their own special shoe selections.

Rose Gold Vinyl Platforms

The exhibition commences with a pair of baby shoes, reminding guests how shoes become a part of life from the very beginning. As you stroll through the expansive gallery lined with glass cases, every type of shoe imaginable is wonderfully displayed. Some of our favorites pairs include the Rose Gold Vinyl Platforms, Green Silk Brocade Mules, Black Leather Boots with Extended Toes, Glass Slippers, and of course, the classic Converse. As a centerpiece in the exhibit, there’s a vibrant shoe store display that is reminiscent of the finest shoe shopping experience.

Converse

In addition to Shoes: Anatomy, Identity, Magic, The Museum at FIT is also showing “Dior + Balenciaga: The Kings of Couture and their legacies” through November 6th.  It features fashions by Christian Dior (1905-1957) and Cristobal Balenciaga (1895-1972). The objects are from solely The Museum at FIT’s permanent collection and it is the first to juxtapose the work of these two renowned designers.  Visitors will be impressed by the variety of stunning pieces of clothing on display.

The Museum at FIT is located at Seventh Avenue at 27th Street in NYC.  To learn more about “Shoes: Anatomy, Identity, Magic,” other events, and the hours of the museum, please visit the museum’s website.

You can follow The Museum at Fit on Social Media @MuseumatFIT and use the hashtag #shoesexhibition for the current exhibition.

Photo Credit: Marina P. Kennedy

Looking Back to The Sixties: Two Exhibitions 

09/01/2022

Black Is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite (August 19, 2022 – January 15, 2023) New-York Historical Society 

This is a small but wonderful exhibition. It brings back an era in New York and Black history that has been largely overlooked, if not forgotten, through focusing on the life and work of Harlem photographer, Kwame Brathwaite. 

Brathwaite Self Portrait

If you loved “Summer of Soul,” a documentary of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival in Marcus Garvey Park, then you will enjoy “Black is Beautiful,” which covers a similar time in Harlem, but from a different perspective. Brathwaite embraced the ideas of Marcus Garvey, promoted a Pan African vision of Black economic liberation and freedom, and did so in a variety of ways, including through his exquisite portraits of Black men and women.  

Jazz Musicians Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach

Brathwaite was a man with a mission. He also helped to found the African Jazz-Art Society & Studios (AJASS), whose band performed in and around Harlem, and the Grandassa Models, who embodied a “Black is Beautiful” ideal through their clothes and natural Afros. 

Marcus Garvey Day Parade, Harlem, 1967

Grandassa Models at the Merton Simpson Gallery, 1967

Radiah Frye wearing a natural hairstyle, Harlem, 1970

New York: 1962 – 1964. (Through January 8, 2023) The Jewish Museum

Welcome to New York

Across town, at the Jewish Museum, an exhibition purportedly focused on “a pivotal three-year period in the history of art and culture in New York City,” is actually a diffusely-focused exhibition on a dramatic three-year period in America, one which included the assassination of President Kennedy, the March on Washington and the Cuban Missile Crisis. It is also an homage to the Jewish Museum’s director during those years, Alan Solomon, who recognized and exhibited “the new art,” and brought many of its practitioners to the Venice Biennial. 

To those of us who lived through those years, the exhibition regurgitates many of the art works and artists who dominated that decade – from Rauschenberg , Larry Rivers and George Segal to Louise Nevelson, Faith Ringgold and Marisol. To those – a decade or two younger (our children and grandchildren) – the exhibition is informative and captivating. 

There are artifacts from the sixties, such as toasters, and old-fashioned black-and-white television sets running mesmerizing scenes from those years: Martin Luther King orating, Walter Cronkite announcing Kennedy’s assassination. There is an array of print magazines from the era for visitors to thumb through. The show certainly indulges our appetite for nostalgia. Whether  it is memorable as an art exhibition is highly subjective. 

In fairness, New York 1962 -1964 received rave reviews from most major art critics, but it left me feeling disappointed, as if I’d been promised a four-star meal and eaten lunch at Schrafft’s.  Judge for yourself. 

Text and Images by Eleanor Foa Dienstag