Originally published on June 29th, 2016.
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Currently on display at the Frick Art and Historical Center in Pittsburgh: Killer Heels - a traveling exhibition from the Brooklyn Museum in New York City.
Henry Clay Frick - a name often seen around the city of Pittsburgh. Nationally, the steel tycoon is most known for.... well.... ruthlessly revolutionizing the U.S. Steel industry and causing the Homestead Strike of 1892, one of the most serious labor strikes in U.S. history.
In Pittsburgh, Henry Frick is usually remembered for being one the largest historical benefactors of the city. Although it was Henry Frick who earned the Frick fortune, we can thank his heirs for many of the donations made to the city in his name. Frick's daughter, Helen Clay Frick, worked on several projects throughout the city of Pittsburgh, despite living in New York City for most of her adult life.
Helen and her father shared a deep passion for the arts. In 1970 Helen opened the Frick Art and Historical Center on the grounds of her family's manse in Pittsburgh. She also ensured the mansion and its grounds would be preserved and accessible to the public after her death.
Thanks to Helen, the Frick Art and Historical Center, located just off of Penn Ave in Point Breeze, is free to the public. The center houses a large portion of the Frick's art collection and hosts different featured exhibitions throughout the year.
Currently - and until September 4th - the center is home to a unique exhibition: Killer Heels. At this very moment, there are almost 150 pairs of drool-worthy heels on display in the center.
Some pairs are historical - allowing a glimpse into what expensive footwear looked like a hundred years ago. Some pairs are feats of architectural engineering - allowing those who wear them to seemingly defy gravity. Some pairs are pieces of art, with no intention of ever being worn.
And, my favorite, some pairs are the realization of all your designer shoe fantasies - Salvatore Ferragamo, Manolo Blahnik, Miu Miu, Christian Louboutin, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Chanel and more! The exhibition is a fantastic opportunity to imagine donning heels that have probably only ever graced the feet of Victoria Beckham and Carrie Bradshaw.
The exhibition first opened at the Brooklyn Museum in 2014, and then toured to various galleries across the country. Pittsburgh is the final stop for - and the final chance to see - this exhibition.
From practical to far out, the exhibition is worth a look for any shoe lover, art nerd, or curious spectator. Make sure to strut over to the Frick Art and Historical center before time runs out to see this fantastic history of footwear.
The exhibition is $12 to enter, $10 for seniors and students.
My advice would be to make a day out of it. Tour the Clayton mansion. Have lunch at the Cafe at the Frick (also located on the grounds of the Clayton mansion). The Cafe at the Frick's three course prefix meal is one of the best lunches in Pittsburgh. Munch on homemade soups, sandwiches, and salads while sitting in one of the best gardens in the city. Don't leave without getting dessert - the pastry chef is my favorite in Pittsburgh... I mean... just look at these chocolate heels in honor of the exhibition.