Converse Extra Special Value
Synthetic polymer paint on canvas
116 x 180 inches
Check out Converse Extra Special Value, above. That’s artwork featuring classic Converse All Stars by the late pop master Andy Warhol, mimicking his own early work in advertising. As an illustrator and graphic designer, Warhol sometimes drew shoes for ads. As an artist, he brought elements of ads into his pieces shown in galleries and museums, challenging people to see them in a different light.
If that were the only link, Converse’s new Chuck Taylor All Star Andy Warhol Collection sneakers would make sense by themselves. But it gets deeper. Adorned with Warhol’s beloved Campbell’s Soup cans, the Converse x Warhol sneakers are a swirl of classic American products-for-the-people.
In conversation with Carrie Dedon, assistant curator at Seattle Art Museum, we go even further. Among other things, we learn from Dedon that Warhol definitely saw himself as a product, and we find out what his exaltation of logo design had to do with his concept of democracy.
Images courtesy of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Converse