ART SCHOOL: Organizing some of the top names in art to customize a pair of Charlotte Olympia shoes is one way to ace a parent teacher conference. Sixteen-year-old art progeny India Wolf, daughter of artist Maya Lin and art dealer Daniel Wolf, did just that and fortunately on the eve of the conference, the teacher showed up to see the fruits of her labors. “Stepping Up for Art” opened Thursday night at the Gagosian gallery on Madison Avenue also drew participating artists like Francesco Clemente, Hugo Guiness, Maira Kalman and socials such as Jennifer Creel, Lizzie Tisch, Harley Viera Newton and Elle’s Robbie Myers.
The teen approached the British shoe maven after seeing some of Olympia’s custom designed pumps created for Neiman Marcus during Art Basel last year. While those shoes were done by a graphic artist in the likeness of greats such as Picasso and Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, Wolf suggested to Olympia they use “living artists” to create more. Olympia supplied 25 pairs of her classic Dolly pump in a “blank” canvas material. Her mother gave her the email addresses of their artist friends and contemporaries and her Dad was able to pull a string or two at the Gagosian. But reeling the artists in and getting them to create a pair of art from the tony stilettos was all India. Included in the show were pieces by Richard Prince, who mounted a shoe on a white painted canvas attached by a black string that laced up the shoe and on to the tableau; Tom Sachs, who burned a pair and filmed it; Jeff Koons, who cheekily tied pink twisty balloons around the heels and of course, a pair by mom that was festooned with chunky crystals. Wolf also engaged students who benefit from the program by sending a pair to a school in each borough. PS 139 in Brooklyn created a dog sculpture by intertwining the two shoes and filling in body parts and face out of felt while students at PS 45 in Queens incorporated the shoe box painted black and created a “web” out of thread as a nod to the signature motif of the brand, for instance. The sales of the shoes, which will be sold privately, go to support the Studio in a School art program. When skeptical mom Maya asked why not a t-shirt, India explained, “Shoes are so sculptural.”
“Shoes and art? I don’t get it. Now I do,” said Lin.