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Eleanor Antin

American, b. 1935

100 Boots

4 x 6 in. (10.16 x 15.24 cm)
Gift of the Marie Eccles Caine Foundation

“I mailed out the first postcard—100 Boots Facing the Sea—on the Ides of March, 1971. Nobody paid for it. Nobody asked for it. They didn’t know what it was.”
Eleanor Antin, Remembering 100 Boots

And so began Eleanor Antin’s most famous—and perhaps most humorous—series. She purchased 100 boots at the Army Navy surplus, set them up on a California beach, had a friend (Phel Steinmetz) photograph the scene, and had 1,000 postcards printed. She then mailed them to fellow artists, dancers, writers, musicians, critics, museums, galleries, universities, libraries and innocent bystanders.

Antin created a story, developing 100 Boots into an autonomous personality. She narrates a part of “his” biography:

“We took him to the market, the bank, and the church. He seemed to be a good suburbanite. But sometimes he looked restless rounding a corner to nowhere. He began to champ at the bit, and, ignoring a ‘No Trespassing’ sign, he climbed over the chain-link-fence protecting a power transformer. He had committed his first crime and had to hit the road.

100 Boots rested in a meadow with cows, marched in the desert, and spent time perched in a tree. 100 Boots also traveled to ultra-urban New York City: with a film crew in Central Park, on the Staten Island ferry, and visiting the Museum of Modern Art.”

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