These Summer Of Love-era sneakers were designed by artist Peter Max, who is best known for his trippy, colorful and psychedelic designs of the 1960s and ’70s. As craft became a form of cultural commentary, wearable art was used as a symbol of the counterculture’s personal and political allegiances.
These sneakers had an original sale price of $3.97, and can now be found on auction sites such as eBay selling for, on average, about $600 per pair. The back of the sneaker has a grinning red mouth across it, part of which can be seen in the above photo.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Minimalism / Maximalism, on Through November 16, 2019 at the Museum at FIT in Manhattan .
Teri Greeves (b. 1970) is a member of the Kiowa Native American tribe, and her culture deeply influences her work. Khoiye-Goo Mah (2004) translates in the Kiowa language as “Kiowa women,” and four Kiowa women are depicted on these sneakers: the artist’s grandmother and mother, both skillful bead workers who taught artist this traditional craft,; her aunt, the first female fancy war dancer in the state of Oklahoma, and spiritual woman, who had the honor of naming the artist.
Artist LJ Roberts offers the following input on the piece: “Converse hi-tops have long been a part of my everyday life. I’ve modified them as a means of personal expression, and for years they have been the surface on which I move and travel. Khoiye-GoodMah integrates matrilineal skill sharing, craft, movement, and Independence. To converse it to communicate, and to also reverse or revert; Greeves’ artwork does this in rich and complex layers.”
Photographed in the Museum of Ats and Design in Manhattan
If anticipating a visit to Nike Town is as exciting to you as a trip to Disneyland, then The Rise of Sneaker Culture, an exhibit exploring the history and evolution of the popular footwear, on now at the Brooklyn Museum, is your wet dream.
Not that the Brooklyn Museum doesn’t know how to do an exhibit of shoes, because did you see the Killer Heels exhibit? That shit was just out of control. So maybe my expectations were too high. Because the only things separating the Rise of Sneaker Culture exhibit from a trip to buy new trainers were prices on the shoes and sales people walking around in referee shirts asking what size you wear. Yawn City.
The again, maybe gazing at rows of sneakers that you can buy anywhere displayed inside of Plexiglas cases gives you a boner, in which case here’s a little bit of exhibit hype from the museum’s website. “From their modest origins in the mid-nineteenth century to high-end sneakers created in the past decade, sneakers have become a global obsession. The Rise of Sneaker Culture is the first exhibition to explore the complex social history and cultural significance of the footwear now worn by billions of people throughout the world. The exhibition, which includes approximately 150 pairs of sneakers, looks at the evolution of the sneaker from its beginnings to its current role as status symbol and urban icon.” Woo.
I think these are antique high tops.
Included are works from the archives of manufacturers such as Adidas, Converse, Nike, Puma, and Reebok as well as private collectors such as hip-hop legend Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, sneaker guru Bobbito Garcia, and Dee Wells of Obsessive Sneaker Disorder.
Converse X Damien Hirst Butterfly Print Sneaker (2010)
Also featured are sneakers by Prada and other major fashion design houses and designers, as well as those made in collaboration with artists including Damien Hirst and Shantell Martin. This was my favorite part of the exhibit, and if all of the shoes were like this small sampling of sneakers, I would have been over the moon. Check these out.
These Christian Louboutin Roller-Boats (2012) feature Louboutin’s signature red soles and gold pony-skin uppers, embellished with aggressive studs. I can’t even imagine how much they cost.
Reebok X Alife Court Victory Pump “Ball Out,” Hot Pink (2007)
Thank god I found a Pink Shoe to write about! Alife’s reimagining of Reebok’s famous tennis shoe, the Court Victory Pump, went on to become one of the most sought-after sneakers. True to its name, Ball Out, the upper is cleverly made using tennis-ball-like material. The original release of the Ball Out was yellow, followed by a number of other bold colorways, including this fuzzy, bright pink version. I would wear them.
Film footage, interactive media, photographic images, and design drawings contextualize the sneakers and explore the social history, technical innovations, fashion trends, and marketing campaigns that have shaped sneaker culture over the past two centuries.
While you’re at the museum, add significant value to your visit by checking out the Faile Exhibit, Savage/Sacred Young Minds, which is just insane.
The Rise of Sneaker Culture will be on Exhibit Through October 4th, 2015 at the Brooklyn Museum, Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 5th Floor.