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On the brandwagon: artists transform trainers and hatch hoodies

February II, 2019 by Devan Shimoyama courtesy Het Nieuwe Instituut

Is Tongue+Chic the best title ever for an exhibition? A show which launched earlier this month at the K11 Art Mall in Shanghai (until 13 December) focuses on sneakers (trainers for our UK readers), bringing together jaunty footwear by “the most influential contemporary artists. [These include] Kaws, Damien Hirst, Takashi Murakami, and one of the world's top tattoo artists Dr. Woo”, says a fulsome press statement from Phillips auction house which has organised the footwear show in partnership with the art consultancy L.S. Art. The Tongue+Chic show is curated by Elizabeth Semmelhack, senior curator at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. “[The artists’ works] triangulate the relationship between brand and consumer through their active reconstruction and reconfiguration of the widely sought-after name brand products,” she explains (quite). Meanwhile, artists including Lucy Orta and Prem Sahib have modified and used in all sorts of creative ways another essential 21st-century fashion essential—the Hoodie—for a show opening at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam (1 December-12 April 2020). “This unprecedented exhibition explores the role of a fashion garment as a socio-political carrier. The hoodie tells many stories: tales of social inequality, youth culture, subculture, police brutality, racism, privacy, fear and style,” a press statement says (quite).