The Art Gallery of WA presents a major international exhibition, The Rise of Sneaker Culture, from 13 May - 4 September bringing iconic sneakers out of the box and into the public realm of the Gallery as part of SNEAKERHEADS Season 2017.
Originating at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, The Rise of Sneaker Culture is the first museum exhibition in North America, and now in Australia, to examine the sneaker's complex and fascinating social history, from its origins in the mid-nineteenth century to its role in the present day as a status symbol of urban culture.
With its dynamic combination of scholarship and popular appeal, Perth audiences will be introduced to iconic and incredibly rare shoes from the 1830s to today. The Rise of Sneaker Culture features sneakers from a range of significant private collectors, museums, and archives, including Adidas AG, Converse Archives, Kosow Sneaker Museum, Nike Archives, Northampton Museums and Art Gallery, and Reebok Archives.
Among them are an 1860s spiked running shoe, an original 1923 Converse All Star/Non Skid, a pair of 1936 track shoes, the original Air Force 1, and early Adidas Superstars, as well as contemporary sneaker collaborations with prominent figures such as Damien Hirst, Jeremy Scott, Rihanna, Kanye West, and many others.
The Rise of Sneaker Culture also features sneakers and related prototype drawings from the archives of Nike, which span the career of legendary sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield, as well as a complete presentation of Air Jordans I–XX3 on loan from the Kosow Sneaker Museum which highlight the pivotal role this coveted series of sneakers has played in the rise of contemporary sneaker culture.
Sneakers have long been loved as a staple of casual fashion, transcending gender, age, and socioeconomic categories to become the footwear of choice for billions across the globe. The selection of approximately 150 sneakers in The Rise of Sneaker Culture will be richly contextualised with film footage, photographic images, and design drawings, creating a backdrop of the social history, technical innovation, fashion trends, and marketing campaigns that have helped shape contemporary sneaker culture over the past two centuries.
CURATED BY ELIZABETH SEMMELHACK, SENIOR CURATOR, BATA SHOE MUSEUM
COORDINATING CURATOR ROBERT COOK,
CONTEMPORARY DESIGN AND INTERNATIONAL ART, ART GALLERY OF WA
adidas x Run–DMC
25th Anniversary Superstar, 2011
Courtesy of Run–DMC, collection of Erik Blam
Photo: Ron Wood
Courtesy American Federation of Arts/Bata Shoe Museum