All Photos By Gail
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.