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In 1949, at the age of 20, Andy Warhol moved to New York City where he aspired to put his degree in pictorial design to good use. His commercial work favored the whimsical over the technical, and by 1952 he had a roster of clients that included magazines, record labels, and the fashion industry. By the end of the 1950s, Warhol was renowned for his illustrations of shoes, producing his largest body of commercial illustrations for I. Miller & Sons, a shoe manufacturer and retailer that employed Warhol to create large-format ads in The New York Times. Warhol’s work, which avoided directly representing the product, helped transform the company’s image. Warhol would also use shoes as the subjects of his own artwork. “I see art in everything. Your shoes. That car. This coffee cup,” he once said. “It’s art if you see it as art.”
In The Warhol’s upcoming exhibition, Paola Pivi: I Want It All, Pivi was inspired by shoes—and Warhol’s “amazing drawings of shoes”—to creature a commissioned work of 250 pairs of shoes, half worn and half brand new, that will be mounted on the walls of the museum’s second-floor gallery. “This shoe installation is connected—literally—to Warhol’s legacy,” says Pivi.
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