From their modest origins in the mid-nineteenth century to high-end sneakers created in the past decade, sneakers have become a global obsession. The Rise of Sneaker Culture is the first exhibition to explore the complex social history and cultural significance of the footwear now worn by billions of people throughout the world.
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.
This exhibition goes far beyond the “Notorious” Air Jordan I of the 1980s. The High Museum of Art takes us back to the 19th century with the formation of plimsoles (later coined “sneakers”) in 1873. Michael ain’t got nothin’ on these bad boys! With more than 155 sneakers on display, this exhibition explores what we know as the humble beginnings of the sneaker, and how it’s evolved to become a staple in the wardrobe of millions of people in our present age, and become a mainstay in sports, music and mainstream culture.
You can also look forward to seeing featured designs from major fashion design houses such as Prada and Christian Louboutin, as well as collaborative pieces by Kanye West and other well-known sneaker connoisseurs.
The Rise of Sneaker Culture is organized by the American Federation of Arts and the Bata Shoe Museum, Toronto. It is curated by Elizabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator, Bata Shoe Museum.
Learn the history of your favorite sneakers @HighMuseumofArt it’s gonna be epic! Launch Party Official exhibit opening: June 10th 7:00pm – 10:00pm . Tickets are $10.
To guarantee parking in the Woodruff Arts Center parking garage on the evening of Friday, June 10, we highly encourage pre-paid parking.
The cost of pre-paid parking for this date is $11 for members and $16 for the general public. Please call the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office at 404-733-5000 to receive the member price.
The general public can purchase pre-paid parking by clicking here. If you’re not pre-purchasing, parking is also available at the 15th Street Promenade parking garage, and the Arts Center MARTA Station is right across the street.