Sneakerheads, remember this day. Today, July 10th of the year 2015, the Brooklyn Museum begins a run of their very first sneaker exhibit, dubbed The Rise Of Sneaker Culture; a thorough spotlight on the often overlooked history of a stylistic cornerstone to hip-hop and a staple of any modern-day wardrobe. The exhibit features roughly 150 pairs, ranging from the the obscure to the classic, from all points of the rubber-bound canvas history, charting the evolution of athletic footwear from its very earliest leather-clad designs to the posh silhouettes we see in contemporary fashion.
We may well mark this as exhibit as the official moment of recognition that humanity has elevated the decoration of the lowest physical point on the human body to high art, placing sneakers–literally–on the pedestal conventionally reserved for masterpieces of sculpture. This is an archaeological, rather strictly artistic approach to the history of kicks, however, presenting sneakers more as artifacts, found objects, than as statements of intention or design.
Accordingly, the exhibit shies away from spotlighting the designers themselves. The focus on a historical perspective is refreshing, but would certainly be amplified by the faces behind the laces if they intended to give such a romantic presentation of these coveted colorways. The testimonials from collectors that pepper the walls of the museum’s two dedicated rooms are a nice touch, giving the exhibit a much-needed human connection, but these are too few and might have been better served if it were suggested that its attendants plaster the walls with their own tales of how they came to the sneaker-loving sport. Human interest aside, the exhibit is an irresistible spectacle, treating some of the culture’s most cherished designs as the trophy pieces many already consider them to be, ensconced in chic glass enclosures, or in the case of one Boston collector’s Jordan archive, three 10-foot-tall actual trophy cases, displaying the first 23 incarnations of the Jumpman’s line.
Whether you consider yourself a full-bloom sneakerhead, hypebeast or just a casual collector of heat for your feet, sneakers and the community of fanatics that they’ve spawned are an unavoidable facet to navigating modern style, from the simplest of attire to high-fashion, and the Brooklyn Museum’s new exhibit is more a celebration of the sneaker’s current status, then us the culture, living, breathing and dying with our favorite 20-30 pairs on the shelf (or more likely, still in-box.) And if you’re one of said enthusiasts that happens to live in the greater NYC area, you owe yourself a visit before the clock runs out on October 4th. Hit the link below for more info and swipe through the gallery above to see what’s in store.