There have been mixed reviews thus far on The Brooklyn Museum’s latest exhibition, “The Rise of Sneaker Culture”. The 5th floor installation just opened to the public, but most critics have already had the same response: plenty of sneakers but not enough culture.
Any sneaker-loving junkie can appreciate this exhibition, presented by Lisa Small, the curator of exhibitions at Brooklyn Museum, due to the approximated 150 pairs of sneakers on display. Brands range from the classics like Nike, Reebok, Converse, and Adidas to more premium brands like Christian Loubiton, Pierre Hardy, Jimmy Choo, and Prada.
The exhibit is in order chronologically, starting from the mid-19th century all the way up to current 2015 styles. You can see one of the first ever Converse shoes from the early 20th century (which looks like a beat-up version of a modern day Converse), some of the first “sneaker wedges” from the Dominion Rubber Company circa 1925, the Louis Vuitton and Kanye West Don collaboration in 2009 and many many more. There are even all 23 original styles of the mega-popular Nike Air Jordan line of basketball shoes from years 1984 to 2008!
While the exhibit is a fun visual jog down memory lane, it lacks commentary on the social climates that helped propel these various styles into cultural icons. There is clear reference to hip hop culture and the importance of sneakers in America, but falls short in developing a truly strong narrative about the relationship these everyday objects have in our modern society.
So it may not fulfill your educational needs, but this exhibit will definitely fuel your desire to hit up Foot Locker on your way home. “The Rise of Sneaker Culture” will continue through October 4th at the Brooklyn Museum. Search #sneakerculture on social media for more coverage of the exhibit.