Sneakers take a big step forward in Brooklyn
A sneakerhead’s dream is the current exhibit bringing cultural buzz to the Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Rise of a Sneaker Culture. Organized by the American Education of Arts, museum-goers are given an opportunity to experience history in a new and media-integrated way. Sneakers displayed in the glass display cases range from the present-day hip-hop favorites, such as Yeezy Boost 350 (2015), to the oldest sneaker to date from the 1860s. Yeezy Boost transcends the culture of sportswear and thus the transition from purposeful to fashionable is clear. As spectators walk through the exhibit, they are familiarized with the transitional purposes of sneakers, from fitness to social status. One commonality expressed throughout the exhibition’s pieces is individuality. Sneakers are sorted by evolution level across the floor and spectators are given the backstory of every sneaker displayed.
As viewers walk into the first room of the exhibit, they are quickly made aware of the significance as a sketch on a Nike sneaker covers a wall, towering over an array of sneakers, including a pair of white Adidas that will not released until 2016.
Once viewers move into the main showroom they are overwhelmed by a variety of content, with sneakers placed evenly on white tables and protected by yellow and clear Plexiglas.
On the left wall, the Rick Owen and Adidas fashion show is playing, which was the debut of what some would consider the space shoe of our generation.
Expected to be a fan-favorite, the infamous Air Jordan takes up an entire corner. Named after the biggest basketball player of all time, the Jordan is the most impactful sneaker of our generation, next to Nike’s LeBron’s. A video covers the phenomenon that is Michael Jordan along with Nike’s most profitable sneakers, that is not where the awe-effect stops. Twenty-three pairs of Air Jordans are displayed on an isolated wall, and museum-goers have the honor of seeing every pair in its essence all in one place.
As the experience continues, the exhibit moves into the more creative error of the sneaker culture. The culture’s effect on the fashion industry is clear with the special edition Obama Force Ones on display. Created by Jimmy Laser, these sneakers adorn President Obama’s face while reading, “a black runs and a nation is behind him.” As the pieces progress chronologically, the shift in creativity is clear. Moving into a more colorful and experimental phase, sneakers have become a way of expressing emotion within this generation. Through the use of vibrant colors and a range of materials, designers have used sneakers to change the current trends in fashion.
There is not one style left behind with trends like studs, metallic shine and balloon-like soles. As the fashion world begins to find its place in art and history time and time again, this exhibit allows one to see its evolution. Art-lovers and sneakerheads alike should be sure to catch The Rise of a Sneaker Culture before the exhibit ends its run on Oct. 4.