Werthein, Judi

Born 1967, Argentina
Lives in New York


In 2005, Judi Werthein, an Argentinean artist based in New York, came to national prominence when she was accused by CNN anchor Lou Dobbs and Fox News reporters of aiding and abetting illegal immigration. Her uniquely designed sneaker, manufactured in China, had been distributed for free to Mexican immigrants about to attempt an illegal crossing into the U.S. Trademarked “Brinco” (Spanish for “jump”) after the local nickname for crossing the border, each pair contains a map of the border-area (on the inside of the soles), a compass, a wallet, pockets to hide money and medication, and necessities, such as an image of Santo Toribio Romo, the official saint of the Mexican immigrant.

Meanwhile, Werthein sold the sneakers for $215 a pair at a boutique store in San Diego, explicitly linking migrants’ efforts to illegally cross the Mexican-American border to the global circulation of goods and labor. The heavily branded sneakers are exhibited in an installation that includes video documentation of the media firestorm that ensued.


Monday, October 27
Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery
Charrette with Judi Werthein and Parsons class:
10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Presentation: 6:30 p.m.
Both events open to the public

In the charrette, the students (from a product design class) split up into groups and develop “survival” kits for different geographic regions of the world, taking into consideration local adversarial conditions whether political, environmental, or economic. The kits respond to contextual criteria such as poverty, mobility, and belief systems and must contain 10 items.

This charrette is hosted by Parsons faculty member Robert Kirkbride.


Brinco 2005

Installation with 3 pairs of sneakers, vinyl, paper, and monitors

Dimensions variable

Courtesy the artist and inSite_05