Paula Rasmus Dede’s 2006 work Don’t Cry Lois Lane is an imbricated ready-made work that operates both as found object and as a sculptural work modified by the artist. Rasmus Dede purchased the pair of boots from Freaks Lounge, a shoe store in the SoHo neighborhood of New York. “I was in New York City in 2005 for the opening of the Changing Hands: Art Without Reservation 2 exhibition at the Museum of Art and Design,” shared Rasmus Dede. “One day of my trip was reserved for the quest to find a ‘perfect’ pair of boots to commemorate my visit.” The artist was immediately drawn to the kitsch of the campy heeled boots, complete with an homage to famed pop artist Roy Lichtenstein’s cartoon women. The boots “symbolized not only an Alaska Native’s encounter with ‘Metropolis,’ but a freedom to express art with abandon, joy and a knowing wink,” she shared. The artist adorned the boots with beadwork and fabric, still allowing their original design to shine through, amplifying their over-the-top nature.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Aleut, b. 1946
Paula Rasmus-Dede is an Aleut artist who has been working with beads since her childhood. Primarily self-taught, she uses Indigenous techniques, such as the peyote stitch, double needle and needle weaving, to create unusual and distinctive contemporary jewelry and art objects. Thousands of beads are required to complete the embellishment of a single icon, such as a shoe, spirit mask or toy. Wirework has become a signature of her work and is chosen to complement and elevate the overall design. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Heard Museum in Phoenix, the Chateau-Musée in Boulogne, France, and the Anchorage Museum in Alaska, as well as in private collections. It has been selected to tour nationally as part of The Embellished Shoe (2000), Changing Hands II (2005) and The Perfect Fit (2009), and internationally as part of Facing Forward in Boulogne, France (2016). Rasmus-Dede lives in Chugiak, Alaska, near Anchorage.