Giant Magritte Feet Stomp Around Chicago Promoting Retrospective

The Magritte feet at Oak Street Beach in Chicago.
Photo: Art Institute of Chicago.

The Art Institute of Chicago‘s publicity machine is kicking into high gear. By way of promoting its current René Magritte retrospective, “Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938,” the AIC has installed a pair of seven-foot-tall, 800-pound sculptures of feet that appear to be morphing into shoes at Oak Street Beach. The surreal photo-op props, inspired by Magritte’s 1934 painting The Red Model, will skip to different locations around the Windy City throughout the run of the show, which closes October 13, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Though inspired by the Belgian artist’s work, the giant shoes are the sole creation of the Chicago branch of ad agency Leo Burnett. They were fabricated by Ravenswood Studio, a company based in Lincolnwood, Illinois, that makes set designs for theater and opera, retail and restaurant spaces, and exhibition and museum designs.


René Magritte, The Red Model (1934).
Via Wikiart.

By artnet News’s calculations, were the super-size Magrittian pumps actual, wearable shoes, they would be a size 101.5 in US shoe sizes—or, to use the more familiar European footwear metrics Magritte might have been more accustomed to, a size 332.5. They’d probably be fairly durable in a Chicago winter, too, being made of carved foam and plywood coated in urethane.

“People get to touch the art and play around with it and climb on it, which obviously they can’t do in the museum,” AIC spokesperson Rebecca Baldwin told the Tribune.

For Chicagoans looking to keep pace with the massive Magritte feet, they’ll be relocating to an undisclosed site along Michigan Avenue on the weekend of August 23–24.

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