Heels and Flats | Juxtaposition

Museum patrons juxtaposed with artwork offer an extra dimension on the view of contemporary culture.


Heels and Flats

“Runs” (ca 2006) is the contemporary color photograph by Marilyn Minter shown here while being considered by patrons of the San Antonio Museum of Art, Downtown San Antonio, Texas.

The large artwork presents a detail view of a woman whose lower legs have been bespattered with mud while wearing a pair of bejeweled, stiletto heels [Not a stretch of the imagination that it’s a woman waiting for a taxi on a NYC sidewalk]. The photograph is an example of Minter’s consideration of the complex view of femininity in our present culture: glamorous and filthy; attractive and repulsive.

By contrast, the female museum guest who contemplates in front of the photograph is wearing a pair of patterned flat, lace-up shoes: a more practical take on feminism and self-expression.

There are contrary views of high heels: a) they are the misogynist modern equivalent to foot binding; b) they empower the wearer to break patriarchal control, exude power and express sexuality. There is no denying they are a cultural lightning rod!

Photography was permitted throughout the museum galleries.

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