Since 1996, luxury shoe brand Stuart Weitzman displayed unique shoe sculptures by artists and craftsmen at a flagship store on Madison Avenue in New York.
The shoe-shaped art pieces, made with materials such as scraps of paper, ceramic roses, metals and stones, were displayed and collected through the years, bringing Jane Gershon Weitzman — Stuart’s wife — to the idea of photographing and publishing them in a book named Art & Sole.
“The main purpose was because so many people asked, what happened to the art shoes when we stopped putting them in the windows,” said Jane, who would travel to arts and craft shows around the country, asking artists to make a unique, characteristic shoe for display. “People love giving [the book] as a gift, because they know that women love shoes, and people just enjoy looking at all the beautiful shoes.”
From Tuesday, March 8, through April 10, more than 70 shoes from Art & Sole, will be displayed at an exhibit in the Bass Museum of Art’s bassX gallery.
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While the Bass is undergoing construction for its expansion, the museum is holding a series of artist projects, called bassX, in the museum’s satellite gallery at the Miami Beach Regional Library, 227 22nd St., across the street from the Bass.
When Jose Diaz saw the book, he decided to make a shoe exhibit with the pieces as part of the bassX program.
“Our museum is not only focused on contemporary art; but also on fashion and design, and Jane had sent us her book, and I was fascinated by all the materials that all the different artists had used, because some of the artists are craftsmen. Some of the artists are self-taught,” said Diaz, curator of exhibitions for Bass Museum of Art. “I went through what was available and selected by favorites thinking that we should have a wide variety of materials for people to look at here in Miami.”
Art & Sole has roughly 150 unwearable shoes out of more than 1,500 styles.
After an introduction written by Weitzman comes an array of photographs displaying the tightly detailed shoes. At the bottom of each page is a caption with a description of each art piece and a short biography of the creator.
Jane Gershon Weitzman, who was also executive vice president of Stuart Weitzman, looks to generate money for charity through the sales of the book. She created a sense of philanthropy for the company by implementing innovative ways to raise funds through the Stuart Weitzman Celebrity Breast Cancer Shoe Auction.
In terms of her own ideal shoe style: “[I like] one that looks beautiful and feels good.”
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