Willie Cole American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 508

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."

Shine, Willie Cole (American, born Newark, New Jersey, 1955), Shoes, steel wire, monofilament line, washers, and screws

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