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New NYC Shoe Exhibit Blurs the Line Between Art and Fashion

At “A Walk of Art: Visionary Shoes” presented by the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design Jerusalem, the exhibit begs the question, “Is a shoe a work of art?”

With one look at the more than 60 designs created by students and alumni of the school, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Curated by Ya’ara Keydar, the exhibit aims to upend footwear’s place as a practical item in one’s closet and blurs the line between art and fashion.

Young students at the prestigious academy, founded in 1906, have followed in the footsteps (quite literally) of successful alumni Kobi Levi, who counts Lady Gaga and Fergie as fans of his designs, and Sigalit Landau, who is known for submerging items into Israel’s salt lake, the Dead Sea. Both Levi and Landau’s designs are on display alongside students’ designs at the Parasol Gallery in New York.

A Walk of Art: Visionary Shoes Exhibit NYC

Double Boots by Kobi Levi, 1998.

A Walk of Art: Visionary Shoes Exhibit NYC

Sigalit Landau’s Dead Sea salt shoes.

While most of the shoes are impossible to walk in, some of the students said they actually tested the shoes to see if they could. Highlights in the exhibit include art-inspired pairs such as the “Barococo” by Nadin Ram, which borrows from Baroque and Rococo art, and the “Gaston Persona” by Mor Paola Gaash which takes inspiration from Pablo Picasso and the character Gaston from “Beauty and the Beast.”

A Walk of Art: Visionary Shoes Exhibit NYC

Barococo by Nadin Ram, 2015-16.

A Walk of Art: Visionary Shoes Exhibit NYC

“Gaston Persona” by Mor Paola Gaash, 2015.

There’s also high-tech pairs, including some that were made using a 3D printer such as this pair made by Tal Arbel in cooperation with Alessandro Briganti.

A Walk of Art: Visionary Shoes Exhibit NYC

Cenerentola Nostra by Tal Arbel in cooperation with Alessandro Briganti, 2016.

Others used one material to mimic another, such as Or Kolker, who created a layered wood effect using leather.

A Walk of Art: Visionary Shoes Exhibit NYC

Between Layers by Or Kolker, 2015.

“What’s interesting about these works is that they look at this line between fashion and art,” said Keydar. “It’s trying to look at shoes as a springboard for art and design inspiration.”

There are already offers to host the exhibit once it wraps up in New York, and apparently, there was even an offer from someone interested in purchasing the entire collection, but the students weren’t interested in selling their works.

The exhibit runs at the Parasol Gallery at 208 Bowery through Feb. 13.

Click through the gallery to explore more designs from the exhibit.

View Slideshow

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