Originally designed as a means to participate in sports, over the last century-and-a-half sneakers have been elevated to something else entirely. They’re still integral to athletic performance, but they’re also designer styles at times, art forms at others.
Beginning in July, the Brooklyn Museum will host a new exhibition titled The Rise of Sneaker Culture that explores all that and more, looking at the sneaker’s cultural significance the world over, as well its rather unique social history. In the Brooklyn Museum’s words —
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. 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. 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. 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.
The Brooklyn Museum will feature The Rise of Sneaker Culture exhibition in its Morris A. and Meyer Schapiro Wing, 5th floor, from July 10 through October 4, 2015.