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Sneakertopia: Step Into Street Culture

Lets take a journey through Sneaker culture at Sneakertopia! It is a permanent exhibition gallery at the Singapore ArtScience Museum, running from February 25th to July 30th this year. The exhibition occupies the third floor of the museum’s lotus-shaped building, consisting of 10 galleries. While the museum grounds and lobby area are accessible to the public, access to the galleries requires paid admission.

Welcome to Sneakertopia at the Singapore ArtScience Museum
Welcome to Sneakertopia at the Singapore ArtScience Museum!

Tobyato sneaker stone lions Welcome Area

The journey through Sneakertopia begins at the Welcome Area. Here you are greeted by a pair of large Chinese stone lions by Tobyato. These lion sculptures, one blue and the other pink, feature feline features stylized to resemble sneakers and are standing on shoe boxes. Additionally, the Welcome Area features a Sneaker Storyboard (2019) by David Kaul and a video created by Ben Fearnley specifically for the exhibition.

Tobyato sneaker stone lions Welcome Area
Tobyato sneaker stone lions Welcome Area.

Moving into the galleries, a diverse range of exhibits awaits visitors. The displays include a mix of printed street art media and physical sneaker displays, showcasing rare sneakers from popular brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Vans. Notably, the exhibition pays tribute to iconic sneakers like the Nike Air Force One and Air Jordans through various artworks. Furthermore, the gallery spaces offer a quiet environment conducive to browsing, allowing visitors to explore the mini gallery halls in a circular clockwise manner.

Gallery of Sneaker in Sports in the Playground galleries
Gallery of Sneaker in Sports in the Playground galleries.

A Walk Through Sneaker Street Culture

One of the main themes of Sneakertopia is the expression of self and creativity through DIY and artistic expression. Also, the DIY/Expression section of the exhibition highlights how sneaker culture fosters organic and supportive communities that generate new ideas and bring about change.

Gallery grounds of Sneakertopia
Gallery grounds of Sneakertopia.

Moreover, the spirit of collaboration and sharing of ideas is central to artists, designers, athletes, brands, and celebrities who shape sneaker and street culture. Also, among the notable artworks in this section are a large wall mural by Kristal Melson and artworks by soph O, both new additions created in 2023.

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Introductions
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First gallery
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Got shoe?

Sneaker in Sports at the Playground

Furthermore, the deep roots of sneaker culture in the sports industry are highlighted in this section. Sports personalities often collaborate with brands to develop signature shoe deals and promote their products. Examples include Michael Jordan and Serena Williams, both of whom are featured in the exhibition.

Sport personalities murals and it is not just Ikea basketball furniture
Sport personalities murals and it is not just Ikea basketball furniture!

Notably, the murals pay homage to these sports heroes, including LeBron James, Serena Williams, and Michael Jordan. One striking mural by James Haunt depicts a basketball court in red, white, and black, referencing Michael Jordan’s legendary dunk from the free-throw line during the 1988 NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest.

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The Playground galleries
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James Haunt mural- Posterised (2019)
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Backlog pop culture screen

Moreover, the exhibition also includes a giant skateboard mural by Jonas Never, paying tribute to skateboarding legends Tony Hawk, Steve Caballero, and Lizzie Armanto.

Jonas Never, KICKflip, 2019 and Steve Harris, Giant Skateboard, 2019
Jonas Never, KICKflip, 2019 and Steve Harris, Giant Skateboard, 2019.

Sneaker Popular Culture and Big Screen

McFlyy six parody movie posters including E.T., The Godfather, Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, Back to the Future, and Fight Club.
McFlyy six parody movie posters including E.T., The Godfather, Pulp Fiction, Forrest Gump, Back to the Future, and Fight Club.

The Sneakertopia exhibition explores the influence of sneakers in the world of movies and entertainment. The Backlot section delves into how sneaker culture has permeated the entertainment industry, from blockbuster films to indie titles. Here, you can discover the role of movies in shaping fashion, style, and sneaker trends.

Tommii Lim, MANDO (2023).
Tommii Lim, MANDO wall mural (2023).

On the far wall, Star wars fans will adore to find Tommii Lim’s black and white wall mural titled MANDO. It features mandalorian icons as well as baby Yoda. Also, the mural was painted on site just for the exhibition.

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Kristal Melson artworks
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Expression
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Collection of Air Jordan 1s

PHUNK’s Return of the Condor Heroes, an animated featured played in a dark room with audio played on repeating and overlapping visuals of people in sneakers.

PHUNK, Return of the Condor Heroes, 2023 animated display.
PHUNK, Return of the Condor Heroes, 2023 animated display.

Furthermore, the section features works by Paul Shelton (aka McFlyy), an American graphic designer and visual artist known for blending old-school classics with street culture. Notable pieces in this section include six parody movie posters and the iconic Nike MAG from the “Back to the Future” film trilogy.

Mike Mag inspired by the Back to the Future with its self-tying ‘power laces’.
Mike Mag inspired by the Back to the Future with its self-tying ‘power laces’.

Larger Than Life Art + Sole Galleries

Moreover, the Art + Sole Gallery comprises two galleries that showcase sculptures and wall murals. The first gallery profiles artists who have infused their work with a passion for sneakers, featuring exhibits such as the DREAM 777 sofa and the Main Character kiddy ride by Aeropalmics.

Art + Sole Gallery with works by Juls and RON BASS.
Art + Sole Gallery with works by Juls and RON BASS.

Also, notably, a larger-than-life shoe-shaped sculpture called “The Super Large Superstar” by Smoluk stands out. Made from recycled cardboard, the sculpture represents a colorful sneaker and exemplifies the artist’s love for sneaker culture and hip-hop music.

SCULPTURE: SMOLUK - The Super Large Superstor (2023)
SCULPTURE: SMOLUK – The Super Large Superstor (2023).

Additionally, the second gallery in the Art + Sole zone focuses on the fusion of sneaker culture with street art. This section features works by artists such as Mimi Yoon and Juls, showcasing their unique styles and interpretations of sneaker culture.

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DREAM 777
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Kiddy ride by Aeropalmics
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Larger than life Art + Sole Galleries

Also, notable artworks include Timothy Curtis’s “Floating Untied to the Ground No. 1” and Mimi Yoon’s “Give A Girl the Right Shoes and She Can Conquer the World.” Additionally, a sculpture by Ron Bass titled “Red and Blue Team Benches” serves as both functional seats and artistic pieces, symbolizing unity and peace.

RON BASS - Red and Blue Team Benches (2019).
RON BASS – Red and Blue Team Benches (2019).

The Street and Dream Room

Furthermore, the galleries continue into The Street, which presents a bustling display resembling city streets and the visual noise of urban spaces. Also, it explores street art in Southeast Asia and showcases prominent street art crews in Singapore.

Sam Lo ‘SKL0’, A Myna Rebellion (2023) and HURUHARA construction sign street art at the street gallery.
Sam Lo ‘SKL0’, A Myna Rebellion (2023) and HURUHARA construction sign street art at the street gallery.
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Juls, Altered Markings.
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Welcome the street life
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Myna Rebellion

Also, the gallery walls here are adorned with construction signs, and the centerstage of the gallery features a sculpture by Sam Lo, also known as SKL0, called “A Myna Rebellion.” This oversized myna bird, adorned with bling and a target painted on it, makes a bold statement.

Adam Fu and Steve Harris, The Dream Closet, 2019
Adam Fu and Steve Harris, The Dream Closet, 2019.

The Frugal Pop-Up in the Dream Room

The Frugal Pop-Up, a funny take on Frugality in Singapore
The Frugal Pop-Up, a funny take on Frugality in Singapore.

Within the Street gallery, visitors can also explore the humorous Frugal Pop-Up, a parody of the hype surrounding the streetwear world and a playful take on the lifestyle brand Supreme. The Pop-Up is designed to resemble the interior of a Singaporean Housing Development Board flat, wrapped in green Frugal branding.

Frugal the Pop-Up installation themed to a Singaporean Housing Development Board flat.
Frugal the Pop-Up installation themed to a Singaporean Housing Development Board flat.
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Overflowing money
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The Dream room
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Dream galleries

Here, ordinary objects and furnishings in this area are labeled with highly inflated price tags, all securely glued down. Moving on to the Dream Room, visitors enter a zone of illusions and visual tricks celebrating sneakers.

Michael Murphy Sculpture- Air (2019). It appears different viewed around it
Michael Murphy Sculpture- Air (2019). It appears different viewed around it.
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A Walk in Time mural
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Collection of rare sneakers by Limited Edt
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Iconic Jumpman logo

The works of artists such as Michael Murphy, Ben Fearnley, Adam Fu, and Steve Harris are showcased here, alongside a collection of rare sneakers from the Limited Edt archives.

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LV supreme case
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Backlot collection of shoes.
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Two galleries

Also, notable sneakers include the Louis Vuitton Nike Air Force 1, Nike Zvezdochka, and the X Speedportal Leyenda signature edition boots provided by Adidas to football player Lionel Messi for the 2022 World Cup.

Sneaker collections of both current and out of production rare collections.
Sneaker collections of both current and out of production rare collections.

Technology + Innovation

The galleries culminate with the Activity Space, a collaboration with Singapore-based creative studio Tell Your Children (TYC). This space offers visitors the opportunity to explore the rise and impact of sneaker culture in the past, present, and future. The Activity Space features a mural showcasing six famous personalities wearing iconic sneakers, each representing a different subculture.

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Activity Space gallery
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Technology + Innovation
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ALIVEFORM 3D printed shoes

Additionally, visitors can take a picture of their shoes using a tablet-mounted on a table, contributing to the exhibition’s digital archive of sneaker images. The interactive activity encourages visitors to express their unique style. The gallery then leads to the closing Technology and Innovation alleyway, where visitors can find interesting sneaker designs, including 3D-printed ones by ALIVEFORM. Noteworthy examples include the Adidas Stan Smith Mylo sneakers, which utilize an eco-friendly mushroom-based fabric, and Nike’s hands-free shoe, the Go FlyEase.

Wrapping up with the Sneakertopia gift shop

As the galleries near the end, visitors can explore the attraction’s gift shop. Here, a curated selection of streetwear, sneakers, and toys are available for purchase. The shop includes small-scale reproductions of the sculptures displayed in the exhibition, provided by local toy shop Action City in collaboration with the designers. You may remember a recent collab they had with Edgar Plans. Notably, the toys offer a chance to own miniature versions of the exhibited artworks.

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Encased
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Ending gift shop
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Store items

In conclusion

Additionally, for those interested, the museum offers guided tours of the galleries at an additional cost. The English language tours require an upfront payment of S$5 per participant and must be booked with same-day exhibition tickets. Additionally, a VR-gallery provides an alternative way to explore the Sneakertopia exhibition.

That's a wrap here at the Sneakertopia galleries
That’s a wrap here at the Sneakertopia galleries!

Also, the museum caters to younger visitors as well, with a Kids Virtual Tour into Street Culture, focusing on collaboration and community in the works of selected Singaporean artists. Activities such as the Do-It-Yourself (D.I.Y) eight-page zine publication allow kids to create their own sneaker-themed publication using magazine cut-outs, colored paper, and selected texts from Sneakertopia.

In conclusion, a visit to Sneakertopia at the ArtScience Museum galleries is a must for sneaker fans and those looking to immerse themselves in the world of sneaker culture through shoes, culture and artworks. The exhibition provides a comprehensive and visually captivating experience for sneaker enthusiasts and those interested in the intersection of art and street culture. The exhibition offers a one to two-hour experience, at the museum top floor which last hosted the Buckminster fuller radical curiosity exhibition. Singapore Residents adult admission priced at S$20 (child S$16). Regular tourist prices are S$23 for Adults and S$18 for Child. The galleries are open daily from 10 am to 7 pm, with the last entry at 6 pm.

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