Phillips to Host Sneaker Exhibition in New York

Phillips Laces Up: Sneaker Exhibition features over 20 Pairs of Shoes Designed by Leading Contemporary Artists, Including Takashi Murakami, KAWS, Kehinde Wiley, Jenny Holzer, Damien Hirst, and Shantell Martin.

Shoe Surgeon x TBWA\Chiat\Day  NY To be Auctioned to Benefit the Thomson Reuters Foundation FAD MAGAZINE
Shoe Surgeon x TBWA\Chiat\Day NY To be Auctioned to Benefit the Thomson Reuters Foundation

This summer, Phillips’ exhibition Tongue + Chic will bring together an exciting selection of one-of-a-kind sneakers designed by today’s leading artists from 16 July – 31 August at 450 Park Avenue. Private collectors, artists, and company archives have generously agreed to lend their pieces to the exhibition, including shoes that have been designed by Takashi Murakami, KAWS, Kehinde Wiley, Jenny Holzer, Damien Hirst, and Shantell Martin, among others. Curated by Elizabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, in collaboration with Arnold Lehman, Phillips Senior Advisor and former director of the Brooklyn Museum, Tongue + Chic aims to celebrate these utilitarian objects, which have become enmeshed in the realms of fashion, art, and culture.


Kith Permission for the use of any image is granted for timely reporting and auction review purposes only. Image courtesy of Phillips


Shantell Martin Permission for the use of any image is granted for timely reporting and auction review purposes only. Image courtesy of Phillips

Elizabeth Semmelhack, Curator of Tongue + Chic, Senior Curator at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, said,

“Today, prominent artists are engaging with the complicated cultural significance of sneakers by creating thought-provoking and highly covetable works that straddle the divide between fashion and art. Their work points to new directions that sneakers can take as vehicles for social engagement. From works that reimagine the architecture of sneakers to those that use sneakers to advocate for change, the works in this exhibition show just how far a pair of sneakers can go.”


Kehinde Wiley Permission for the use of any image is granted for timely reporting and auction review purposes only. Image courtesy of Phillips

Phillips is also pleased to include one pair of shoes, commissioned by TBWA\Chiat\Day NY and handcrafted by the Shoe Surgeon. The sneakers were featured in a high profile anti-slavery campaign on behalf of the Thomson Reuters Foundation and will be exhibited and auctioned online. All proceeds will benefit the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s anti-slavery initiatives. The custom-made pair of trainers – containing hidden facts about slavery – were ‘unboxed’ in front of an audience of millions by YouTube star Jacques Slade earlier this year. There are more slaves today than in all of recorded human history combined, fueling a global criminal enterprise worth an estimated $150 billion per year.

In conjunction with the exhibition, there will be panel discussions, sneaker selfie booths, social media contests, and more.

Online Auction for Sneakers designed by the Shoe Surgeon to benefit the Thomson Reuters Foundation 19th July – 28th August Exhibition viewing 16th July -31 August Phillips, 450 Park Avenue, New York

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About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine, ' A curation of the world’s most interesting culture' [PLUS] Art of Conversation: A tri-annual 'no news paper' AofC - Issue 1 Sept/Oct