Zach Gold Shows Us What We Were Missing
Just this week, The Brooklyn Museum opened their show “Killer Heels” sponsored by W Magazine. The show includes hundreds of vintage and reconstructed high heels that span the entire history of the famed accessory, as well as six fashion videos by Steven Klein, Nick Knight, Zach Gold, Rashaad Newsome, Ghada Amer, and Reza Farkhondeh. Though this show only just opened, Zach Gold has been working on the project for years. When the idea first came to him he approached the Brooklyn Museum to foster the project, and has been involved in the conception, artist selection, and completion of “Killer Heels.” The results of which are, according to The New York Times, unparalleled: “Killer Heels is among the most gorgeous and meticulously organized shows mounted by the Brooklyn Museum in some years.”
“Fashion has historically been communicated as still images,” Zach explains. “But fashion is so much more about the creation of a fantasy space, people in motion, and clothes meant to be worn and seen in motion. These films have the abstract ability to create fairytale.” By choosing a collective focus, like the high heel, all of these artists had the same central idea to play off of. A through line that connected them all. However, it’s really about pushing the edges of what audiences have come to expect from fashion films. “This could really be a return to what fashion photography was: this incredible collaborative playground where stylists and designers and people like me can explore the fantasy landscape that fashion makes available and creates fresh experiences for the audience,” Zach says.
Zach compares the experience of the fashion video to the music video. Prior to “Video Killed the Radio Star” fans only listened to the music and accepted the experience from one of five senses. When music videos hit the scene in the early 80s, suddenly music lovers had a revolutionary way to interact with songs for a more complete sensory experience. “I lived through that as a teenager and it was a revelation,” Zach says. “Music videos shifted the whole communication. It changed the message. It created new worlds and universes in three and a half minutes.” That participation is exactly what Zach is eliciting with his work in “Killer Heels.”
Zach is careful to not put a pin in defining exactly what he and the other artists are doing with their work. He doesn’t want to constrain the possibilities into named boxes and a bound future. Instead, he’d prefer to step back and see where it goes. “The general idea is to keep this as a playground for people who work, think and see in this way, and to avoid what happened with the rigid form of a thirty second commercial,” Zach says. That way the fairytales keep spinning. It transcends story and goes directly into the experience of consuming fashion in a fundamentally more exciting way. Like that first music video, Zach is working to force us to see the layers behind what we normally see. “That was a big part of where I came from and those are my influences,” he says about growing up watching those videos that changed everything. “So to have that chance to do that with fashion is really a gift.”