Long before the Campbell’s soup cans, the Elizabeths, the Marilyns, and the Maos, there were shoes. Andy Warhol loved to draw them—high heels, pumps, or jeweled stilettos, many of them blotted-line drawings, filled in with color, and created when the artist was a commercial fashion illustrator in 1950s New York.
In 1980, Warhol, who was by then a famous Pop artist, returned to shoes, portraying arrangements of ladies footwear in a Diamond Dust series of screen prints in which Warhol added diamond dust for extra sparkle. Among the most famous: Diamond Dust Shoes(Random), which will be on display at Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art when its “Warhol Out West” exhibit opens February 8.
The composition of ladies footwear on a black background, arranged as if they’d been spilled onto the floor with their toes pointed toward the center of the image, alludes to an endless array of shoes, playing into Warhol’s signature use of repetition. The diamond dust (from ground and cut gem diamonds) heightens the sense of glamour, fashion, and money—three things Warhol famously appreciated.
“The Diamond Dust works rarely travel” because of their delicate nature, says Tarissa Tiberti, executive director of Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, which partnered with the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh to bring more than 30 of the artist’s works to Vegas.
The paintings, sculptures, photographs, screen prints, and wallpaper in “Warhol Out West” include Double Elvis, several works from the Cowboys and Indians series, and a not-often-exhibited portrait of painter Georgia O’Keeffe. “It’s so poignant right now, even more than anyone can understand,” Tiberti says. “He touched so many people.” “Warhol Out West” runs from February 8 through October 27 at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art, 702-693-7871