In 1985 Ron Warren began collecting sock monkeys--those icons of American thrift and inventiveness that for generations have been hand-stitched from a pair of red-heel work socks. Years later he met photographer Arne Svenson (author of the recent popular volume Chewed) who, intrigued by the obsessive nature and growing size of the collection, began with equal obsession to document individually its more than 1,800 examples. To convey the distinct personality imbued in each monkey by its maker, Svenson photographs them in the manner of classical black-and-white portraiture: flatteringly lit, cropped at the shoulders, eyes to the camera. The first 200 of these sock monkey portraits, reproduced larger than life as full-page duotones, are assembled in this book. Invited contributors, including novelists Jonathan Safran Foer, Neil Gaiman and Dale Peck; entertainers Penn & Teller; and fashion commentators Simon Doonan and Isaac Mizrahi, have interjected short stories inspired by the subject of their favorite sock monkey photograph. The result is an engaging, humorous and at times disturbing reanimation of creatures long relegated to the attic or the back of the closet.
Arts-Photography, Photography-Video, Collections-Catalogues-Exhibitions,