She loves shoes yeah yeah yeah

15 August 2007 | ,

Since my last post, I have been immersed in a kind of summer langueur, taking photographs, avoiding writing and feeling guilty about it. When paper deadlines loom, the internet is, of course, the best distraction. “Oh! I am going to see what Mark Lewis is up to…” Occasionally, one of those screen thoughts will bring about something useful, something thought provoking, something that will activate the will to SAY SOMETHING in writing. My latest discovery was sent to me by Neil Scott, companion of distractions, and provides further evidence of the link between art, shoes and fucking. I say fucking rather than sex, because that is the literal word used in all the examples I have gathered. I suspect that the specific connotations of the word (with all its meanings, even its contradictions) have to be taken into account.

See what I mean? This show, which happened in 2006, involved various artists decorating wedge shoes for charity. The results, at least what I can gather from the website, is not seductive in itself, but I was quite attracted to the subliminal messages of the titles. Perhaps that is just creative energy in full flow, as the artists had very little latitude with the form of the shoe (almost colouring exercise?) but full opportunities with the language accompanying it.

Of course, this initiative further adds to the discussion Mike Press and I were having around disciplinary boundaries, in this case providing an example of crosses between art and design. The tension is evident, and more successfully negotiated in some examples than others. I like Peter Blake’s literal approach, but would only buy and wear Richard Evans’ clever play on popular culture. They would go very well with a dress I have… Sarah Lucas’s, for example, would not work in Glasgow, unless suitably varnished for its perpetual autumn (and that would defeat the purpose of the artist, like the encased Beuys one finds at the Guggenheim). Unless, of course, these shoes were NOT meant for walking but just to satisfy a scopophilic drive. Or a status one (I own a pair of Allen Jones’ boots etc). In the end, I suppose, it is all a matter of context.

3 thoughts on “She loves shoes yeah yeah yeah

  1. Gender differences in elation and joy: it’s a foot thing. A woman friend of mine has just been sharing with me her overwhelming sense of excitement and joy at her first moment of wearing and subsequently purchasing a pair of wooden wedge shoes. I feel a bit like I do with my Fine Artist friend in Sheffield (who we both know!) whose mood swings sync perfectly in accordance with the fortunes of Sheffield United. While I like to see them joyful (and indeed encourage it) I remain oddly unmoved by the source of their joy itself. I seem to be located in an emotional nomansland between Footie and Footwear. I mused long and hard as to whether socks rock my boat. Alas, they do not.

    But this from an article in The Guardian seems to get to the heart of the problem (the shoe issue, not the problem of why foot-related things leave me cold):

    “Shoes are actually the one part of a woman’s outfit that are entirely for the wearer’s pleasure, as opposed to that of the man. The male gaze tends to work from the top downwards, rarely ever getting as far as the shoe. So women tend to treat shoes as their secret outlet for fantasy self-image. The rest of their outfit is usually intended for the approbation of the observer. But down there, squirreled away, hidden beneath their hem lines and trouser legs, is the secret treat they save for themselves, that they can look down and admire with a small smile in the middle of their working day.”

    Perhaps bizarrely, this piece was written as part of a report on the 2002 Tory Party conference:,,807322,00.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.