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Shine

Artist:
Willie Cole (American, born Newark, New Jersey, 1955)
Date:
2007
Medium:
Shoes, steel wire, monofilament line, washers, and screws
Dimensions:
15 3/4 x 14 x 15 in. (40 x 35.6 x 38.1 cm)
Classification:
Sculpture
Credit Line:
Hortense and William A. Mohr Sculpture Purchase Fund, 2008
Accession Number:
2008.259
Not on view
This assemblage of women's shoes forms the shape of a man's head -- intense and powerful with a strong jaw, heavy-lidded eyes, wide nose, and short hair knots. Piled heel-side up and without embellishment beyond what is on the shoes themselves, Cole imbues these inanimate objects with a human presence. The head's resemblance to nineteenth and twentieth century heads and masks from Cameroon is deliberate: "I want them to be links between worlds…. You live in the U.S. but here is a piece of art that looks like it is from another culture and another time, even though the materials in the work are strictly American."
Inscription: Signed and dated (on sole of center rear shoe): (in red): 12/07 / WCOLE /(in black): WCOLE 2K7 [ or 2 x 7]
the artist, New York (2007); [Alexander and Bonin, New York, 2007–8; sold to MMA]

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Provocative Visions: Race and Identity–Selections from the Permanent Collection," August 19, 2008–March 22, 2009, no catalogue.

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