Mettez une Chaussette la Dedans!
(Put a Sock on it!)
Mettez une Chaussette la Dedans! (Put a Sock in It!) installed at Hemphill Gallery in 1997 provides another romp through art history via argyle sock imagery. From John Frederick Peto to Jasper Johns, Bedford not only whimsically parodies the aesthetics of each style, but also uses his conservation skills in duplicating the process and materials of each style. Beginning with a stately antique, bronze-looking, cast foot clad in argyle to Love Sock, a Pop art, Robert Indiana send-up with actual plastered condom, all phases of modern and contemporary art are skewered. Best of all is the precise tone of pretentiousness, bordering on inanity, that Bedford brings to the critical text annotating the oeuvre. As Bedford admits, "The juxtaposition of high and low is my favorite field to plow."
It is not surprising that socks have provided inspiration for artists over the millennia. As a relatively late (and, even now, theoretically optional) addition to the historical wardrobe, socks can be as pedestrian and private as the undergarment or as decorative and public as the tie or jewel. An object replete with the loaded implication of its role as one of a pair, and the symbolic importance of its mediation between the foot and the shoe, protecting each from the other, the sock is a rich source of fertile yet problematic imagery for creative interpretation.