Saturday, May 23, 2009

: art // fashion :

Some friends and I were at an opening at Jack the Pelican on Friday night and came upon these horse-hoof boots. We all stopped and looked at each other, then back at the boots. I couldn't help but imagine myself prancing around in them like a centaur -- c'mon, I know you're doing it too. And then (mid-prance) you see wild-eyed PETA folk chasing after you. You gallop away, but you must admit that these boots are not politically correct. In fact, they so resemble the (dead) horse that they suddenly seem as tragic as they are beautiful.

Perhaps the boots are artist Iris Scheiferstein's comment on vanity and the use of animal skins and fur in fashion. Or maybe she's pointing out the under-appreciated beauty of the horse's hoof, not simply in a PETA kind of way. The boots stir up desire and fantasy -- whether it's for high fashion or mythical worlds, I'm not sure. Either way, they take us to a place where the distinctions between "animal" and "human" are not completely clear. At the same time, the sometimes cruel relationship between humans and animals in contemporary society is strikingly apparent.

This piece is exquisite and surprising. The boots make us look twice because they are both familiar and strange. By jarring our naturalized perspectives, they make us think again about the things we consider normal in our everyday lives -- even if they don't change our outlook, they will likely challenge it for a moment.

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