Killer Heels at the Brooklyn Museum

After walking around NYC all day in heels, what’s more appropriate than seeing the Killer Heels exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum?

First off, I love the Brooklyn Museum.  In fact, I like most museums.  What I don’t like is having to pay around $20 for admission per museum, especially if I’m planning on going to a number of them in one day.  Although the Brooklyn Museum’s general admission price is pretty reasonable at $16, and even more reasonable at $10 if you have a valid student I.D., there’s still ways to get in cheaper if you’re down to your last few dollars.  On the first Saturday of every month, the museum offers free admission from 5-11pm.  Missed this time slot? Then read the fine print on the bottom of the admission fees sign while waiting in line.  At the Brooklyn Museum, and many other museums, it will read in tiny italic print, “Admission prices are a suggested contribution.”  In other words, you can pay whatever you want.

So after feeling a little bit guilty for paying $5 as my admission “contribution”, I headed to the Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe exhibit.

Glass showcases filled with lethal looking high heels from designers such as Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Chanel, Vivienne Westwood, Salvatore Ferragamo, and many more, fill the rooms of the exhibit. Many of these one-of-a-kind, iconic heels have been worn by famous fashion risk takers like Lady Gaga and Naomi Campbell.

Among the more modern heels on display, the exhibit also focuses on the history of the heel itself and the cultural role it’s possessed for centuries.  Absurdly high platform sandals that date back over 400 years ago are on display, exhibiting the connection between the desire of 17th century heels and modern-day heels: to add height.  Lisa Smalls, who curated the exhibit, explained how fascinating the evolution of the high heel is, saying, “They’ve been around since the first century B.C., if not earlier. There are these amazing little statues of Aphrodite wearing these enormous platform shoes.”  Throughout the exhibit, Smalls conveyed the close relationship behind the desire for high heels throughout the centuries by understanding that “Historically and sociologically, they’ve always been associated with notions of privilege, status, and power.”

The exhibit also features six short films that were inspired by the art of high heels.  The filmmakers are Reza Farkhondeh, Ghada Amer, Steven Klein, Zach Gold, Nick Knight, Rashaad Newsome, and Marilyn Minter.  Some films evoke feelings of power, while others extreme discomfort.

Here’s a film by Nick Knight that can be seen at the exhibition, along with the glass shoes used in the film.

Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe is on view from September 10, 2014–February 15, 2015.

To see everything that’s currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum, click here.

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