In everyone’s life, there are certain questions that tend to come up with some regularity: Who am I, what am I doing here, what am I going to wear today, and so on. Naturally, there are many paths to the answers, but we prefer to apply the principles of art and design, with a touch of philosophy and science, to our questions; not just because that’s how our brains work, but because an aesthetically pleasing result soothes our souls and looks nice too. If that approach appeals, you’re in luck: the 2022 fall arts season in New York City is overflowing with inspiring and practical solutions for nearly any subject under the sun.
A good place to start is at Baruch College’s Mishkin Gallery, and their new show Who Speaks For the Oceans? Over a dozen activists and artists examine humanity’s relationship with the ocean and marine life through the lenses of culture, history, politics, and science, showing the many ways people have imposed upon nature regardless of the consequences. The recognition of these actions has been slow to enter the public consciousness, but once there, the desire to confront and repair the damage has become a movement in service of global environmentalism. If you’ve ever felt hopeless about the damage to the natural world, this exhibit will demonstrate that even though things aren’t too great, anyone can act and improve the situation.
Another question that consumes most people on a regular basis is ‘what am I going to wear today?’. Now, this looks like a rather shallow query, but when you factor in the thinking, time, effort to make and transport clothes across the world, and so on, the subject becomes a practical and philosophical test with multiple answers – most of them wrong, depending on who’s doing the judging. But there is one piece in people’s wardrobe that can override most nay-sayers, due to its ostensibly practical use, and that’s shoes. They cover feet, keeping them warm or cool, protecting them from the elements – all very worthwhile, to be sure. But shoes also can be the most extravagant, inventive, and fabulous part of an outfit, so it’s important to get it right. Study the best examples at The Museum at FIT’s latest exhibit Shoes: Anatomy, Identity, Magic and consider how our physical, social, and psychological needs are encouraged and satisfied by this not so simple item that is part of so many lives.