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Jenny Holzer “Protect Me From What I Want” KedsWhitney Kicks

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Ohio-born artist Jenny Holzer has been instrumental in redefining the concept of public art — over the years, she has experimented with xenon light projections and electronic LED signs to superimpose powerful and often subversive phrases onto buildings, bridges, walls, benches, plaques, and more. Some of the phrases are romantic musings, others pose questions about the human existence and the role of divinity therein, while others  tackle such complex subjects as male-female dynamics, governmental corruption, human rights violations suffered at the hands of US soldiers, and capitalist greed. For example, while a 1996 light projection exhibit in Florence involved making romantic phrases like “I Smell you On My Skin” and “You Are My Own” appear on riverbank walls, her 1983 “Survival Series” featured more militant, feminist phrases like “Men Don’t Protect You Anymore” (a phrase which was later reproduced on condoms).

Words, then, are Holzer’s passion, but it’s how and where she chooses to display these aphorisms and phrases that makes them all the more compelling.

Building on the notion of fashion as wearable art, Keds has teamed up with Jenny Holzer to create a limited-edition collection of sneakers featuring perhaps Holzer’s most famous phrase:  “Protect Me From What I Want.” The KedsWhitney sneakers were designed using the basic Champion silhouette and are available as black, white or gray low-tops and as black or white hi-tops. Each sneaker features the phrase “Protect Me From What I Want” (or a few words from that phrase) running across its perimeter, from one side to the next, in big capital letters. And, in keeping with the abstract nature of Holzer’s work, the manner in which these words were printed makes them look as if they’d been projected onto the shoes using beams of light.

Available starting July 8th, the KedsWhitney sneakers will benefit the Whitney Museum of American Art and are the first in a series of initiatives whereby Keds and the Whitney will be joining forces to support the arts throughout the months of July and August.

KedsWhitney Champions, $70 each; KedsWhitney Champion Hi-Tops, $75 each. Available starting July 8th at Bloomingdale’s stores, Bloomingdales.com and Keds.com

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