NEW YORK, and LEXINGTON, Mass., June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Keds, the all-American original sneaker brand, today announced its sponsorship of the Whitney Museum of American Art's summer season, July 1-September 26, which includes Christian Marclay: Festival, an exhibition of the work of this groundbreaking artist known for the distinctive fusion of sound and image in his art. Activated by more than 100 live daily musical performances, the Whitney show explores Marclay's approach to the world around him with a focus on his "scores." Some 50 renowned instrumentalists and vocalists, a veritable Who's Who of the progressive and experimental music scene of the past three decades, are scheduled to interpret the scores, enabling museum audiences to experience Marclay's work brought to life.
Keds® is uniquely positioned as "America's Blank Canvas," inspiring creative possibilities and a platform ready to take on a range of unique artistic designs. In celebration of this exciting sponsorship, Keds is launching the KedsWhitney Collection with iconic Champion styles featuring designs by celebrated conceptual artist Jenny Holzer, as well as painters Laura Owens and Sarah Crowner -- all artists who have exhibited their work during the famed Whitney Biennial.
"We are delighted to be collaborating with Keds this summer," said Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney Museum's Alice Pratt Brown Director. "Keds' commitment to today's brightest contemporary artists and musicians is extraordinary, and we are extremely pleased that Keds has taken such a prominent role in supporting innovative projects like Christian Marclay: Festival."
The KedsWhitney Collection by Jenny Holzer, who uses words in a range of media such as LED signs, stone benches, and T-shirts, will launch exclusively at select Bloomingdale's stores nationwide, as well as on bloomingdales.com and keds.com starting in July 2010 along with the Keds Premium Line. All Keds' profits from Jenny Holzer's line will benefit the Whitney Museum of American Art. The collection and partnership will be highlighted in the Bloomingdale's 59th Street windows running along Lexington Avenue in New York City for two weeks beginning July 8th. The collections by Laura Owens and Sarah Crowner will follow in September. A portion of the Keds profits from the sales of these shoes will benefit the Whitney Museum of American Art.
"It's great that Keds and the Whitney are friends," states Jenny Holzer. "I have a renewed respect for shoe designers."
Holzer, Owens and Crowner created a fresh take on the Keds classic Champion® silhouette by drawing inspiration from their own design influences. Jenny Holzer's limited-edition styles will feature a phrase from one of her signature text series, Survival: PROTECT ME FROM WHAT I WANT applied to the Champion®, expected to retail in the range of $70 - $75 per pair.
"Bloomingdale's is thrilled with the opportunity to bring this partnership to life through creativity, technology and merchandise," said Jack Hruska, EVP creative services at Bloomingdale's. "Three iconic brands coming together to support the arts is a powerful statement that we are proud to champion."
The partnership with the Whitney Museum of American Art, one of the world's top museums, is the latest step in Ked's effort to partner with institutions and individuals that reflect the brand's dedication to the expression of creative possibilities and individual style. Last year Keds launched the Keds Collective, an online design-meets-ecommerce forum housed at www.keds.com that brings together designers, cutting-edge artists, musicians and other creative individuals allowing the artists to design and sell their fresh interpretations of the iconic Champion style. The Whitney partnership extends and reinforces the brand's commitment and focus to a wide-range of artistic expression.
"We are honored to be partnering with the Whitney Museum of American Art on their summer season, as well as launching the exciting KedsWhitney Collection," said Kristin Kohler Burrows, President of Keds. "Working with an institution such as the Whitney and artists like Jenny Holzer, Laura Owens and Sarah Crowner is the personification of our new brand proposition and the wide range of creative possibilities Keds offers."
The start of the sneaker revolution.
When Boston school kids started using the term "sneaker" in 1887, as credited by an article in The New York Times, it was slang for their tennis shoes. The introduction of Keds in 1916 by U.S. Rubber Company (today's Uniroyal) was the launch of the first sneaker brand, which popularized the term "sneaker," established the new sneaker footwear category and brought sneaker wearing into pop culture. The next step in this footwear revolution happened a year later when Henry Nelson McKinney, an agent for the advertising firm N.W. Ayer & Son, coined the term "sneakers" to refer to Keds' soft noiseless rubber soles that allowed the wearer to "sneak up" on unsuspecting friends or family. And so the sneaker was born.
Through the years, the honesty, optimism and simplicity of Keds has brought people together. From movie stars to basketball legends, artists to tennis pros, first ladies to beatniks, just about everyone has walked, skipped or jumped in a pair of Keds. Keds' power to endure comes not only from its unique American heritage, but also from its ability to stay true. The core of the Keds line is the iconic Champion style -- a simple rubber-soled shoe that over 90 years ago invited us all to run a little faster, jump a little higher, and play a little longer. The Champion is the perfect place to start, and to come back to; the blank canvas that keeps all creative possibilities open. In 2009 Keds launched the Keds Collective. Inspired by the brand's vision of creative freedom and individual style, this online community, housed at www.keds.com, brings together designers, cutting-edge artists, musicians, and other creative individuals, giving them an easy-to-use online design capability to express their creativity through designs on the Keds Champion™. Keds Collective members can then set up an e-store to market and sell their designs creating a first-ever electronic business model to design, market and sell shoes. Keds is also bringing people together to make a difference in our environment, with Keds Green, a line of footwear featuring organic cotton uppers, non-toxic inks and dyes, and recycled outsoles and laces. Pro-Keds has been a free-spirited American performer since 1949. Born of basketball courts, afternoon pickup games, and backyard parties, Pro-Keds have been worn by basketball legends for decades.
Keds is a division of Collective Brands Performance and Lifestyle Group (PLG), which focuses on lifestyle and athletic branded footwear for men and women, and high-quality children's footwear. PLG is a unit of Collective Brands, Inc. (NYSE: PSS), headquartered in Topeka, Kan., a leader in bringing compelling lifestyle, fashion and performance brands for footwear and related accessories to consumers worldwide through multiple channels including retail, wholesale, ecommerce and licensing.
About the Whitney
The Whitney Museum of American Art is the leading advocate of 20th and 21st century American art. Founded in 1930, the Museum is regarded as the preeminent collection of American art and includes major works and materials from the estate of Edward Hopper, the largest public collection of works by Alexander Calder, as well as significant works by Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Agnes Martin, Bruce Nauman, Georgia O'Keeffe, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Kiki Smith, and Andy Warhol, among other artists. With its history of exhibiting the most promising and influential American artists and provoking intense critical and public debate, the Whitney's signature show, the Biennial, has become the most important survey of the state of contemporary art in America today. First housed on West 8th Street, the Whitney relocated in 1954 to West 54th Street and in 1966 inaugurated its present home at 945 Madison Avenue, designed by Marcel Breuer. The Whitney is currently moving ahead with plans to build a second facility, designed by Renzo Piano, located in downtown New York at the entrance to the High Line in the Meatpacking District.
The Whitney Museum is located at 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street, New York City. Museum hours are: Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m., closed Monday and Tuesday. General admission: $18. Full-time students and visitors ages 19–25 and 62 & over: $12. Visitors 18 & under and Whitney members: FREE. Admission to the Kaufman Astoria Studios Film & Video Gallery only: $6. Admission is pay-what-you-wish on Fridays, 6–9 p.m. For general information, please call (212) 570-3600 or visit whitney.org.
Bloomingdale's is America's only nationwide, full-line, upscale department store and a division of Macy's, Inc. It was founded in 1872 and currently operates 40 stores in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, Minnesota, Georgia, Florida, Nevada and California. In addition, the first international Bloomingdale's opened in Dubai in 2010. For more information, or to shop any time, visit www.bloomingdales.com.