Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What Doesn't Stay in Vegas

Bonanza Gift and Souvenir Shops in Las Vegas calls itself the world’s largest gift shop, a claim I have no reason whatsoever to doubt. I found myself there a while back with some friends who could not return home empty-handed. I, however, had no need for souvenirs. After leafing through the only book in the store, “The Art of Pole Dancing, A Spin-by-Spin Guide,” I had plenty of time to document the array and variety of tchotchkes.
It’s yet another example of the aesthetic principle of multiples or repetition, which I mentioned in a post a while back. In the words of Ivan Chermayeff, “If something ugly is repeated and remains ugly, it only means that it has not been repeated often enough.”

You Probably now have a headache after just looking at these pictures. Imagine actually being there!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Women of Amsterdam and Other Books

Women of Amsterdam, 1970

I was looking for information on the book, below, about Japan's Expo '70 when I found my self on Arte Contemporanea, an Italian book site filled with some wonderful covers--art, film, politics, etc.

Structure, Space, Mankind: Expo '70

Living Theatre Paradise, 1969

Dropout, 1971
The journal of a brilliant South African academic
who dropped out, took LSD, and lived
rough on the streets of London.

Daido Moriyama, 2011

Usonien: When Democracy Builds, 1950

How to Play the Environment Game, 1973

Uppercase, 1959

Entropico, 1966

Dali + Film, 2007

... Jacqueline Tutta Nuda!, 1972

Offensive Literature:
Decensorship in Britain 1960-1982

Liberty or Death: 
International Protest, 1968

Dutch Graphic Design, 1993

Atlas of Transformation, 2010

Biennale: Metro 6 Special, 1962

Impariamo a cinematografare, 1947

Image Vol. 7 #1, 1968

The Selling of the President 1968 (1970)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Scarpe Diem

Pope Pius X
served: 1903-1914

Scarpe Diem, was the name of a shoe store that used to be on the Upper West Side, and it always made me smile when I walked by. And you know what they say, "If the name fits …"

When Pope Benedict XVI recently took the historic step down from the papacy, he also had to step out of the papal red shoes. Which got me wondering. What becomes of the shoes! Was there, somewhere in the nether reaches of the Vatican, the entire history of the papacy in footwear? I could so clearly picture a long hallway or even an entire room fitted with bespoke cabinetry and vitrines for the purpose. Well, no such luck. It seems that assorted pairs of red shoes and slippers (for inside wear) worn by past pontiffs reside in various collections and museums around the world. 

While our most recent popes have opted for classic minimalism in footwear, that wasn’t always the case. So as the world eagerly awaits the puff of white smoke, let’s take a look at some of the shoes the next pope will have to fill.

served: 1775-1799

served: 1800-1823

served: 1878-1903

served: 1958-1963

served: 1963-1978

These next two images are from the site of Dieter Philippi. He has collected a fascinating array of religious headwear and also maintains a very informative website which includes much information about all things papal (clothing, shoes, eyeglasses, dishes) and their makers. You can read about the family shop which might at this very moment be putting the finishing touches on the shoes and robes (they prepare three sizes) that the new pope will don immediately upon his appointment.

Pope John Paul II
I love these ecclesiastical stockings as a found palette.
KEY: white=pope, red=cardinals, magenta=bishops, black=priests

The rest of the shoes below, are the work of Adriano Stefanelli. The shoemaker from Novara, a city near Milan, started making shoes for Pope John Paul II. Though JPII had a full wardrobe of red shoes and slippers, he decided to drop the custom as he preferred to wear humbler brown shoes. Stefanelli's relationship with the Vatican continued through the term of Benedict XVI, for whom he made five pairs. 

Pope John Paul II

Pope Benedict XVI
served: 2005-2013

served: 1846-1878
Stefanelli made these replacement shoes for the remains of Pope Pius IX, whose crypt was severely damaged in a flood.

Rabbi Dov Beer Riger HaCohen, Admor of Malta

Stefanelli has made shoes for leaders of five religions, including the Chief Rabbi of Malta (above) who ordered three pairs. It's hard to know if it was a case of buy-one-get-one-free, or if the rabbi purposely bought in bulk to avoid paying retail.

As you can imagine, this 'shoemaker to the stars' has crafted footwear for numerous heads of state and a multitude of other luminaries. The slippers below, were for Michelle Obama.

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