MY FIRST TIME WITH VIRGIL ABLOH

In the MY FIRST TIME rubric, personalities share their first art purchases.

“The first artwork that I have ever purchased is such a profound question, and I think the answer to such a question is almost the essence of understanding art – what it is and what it means to society at large. So, my formal answer is that the first artwork that I’ve purchased is a black AIR FORCE 1 sneaker. For me, that shoe, that object, that medium is hardwired in contemporary society. It’s a sort of bridge between a sculpture and an object. It has a specific meaning to a specific community and is ubiquitous at the same time, very different from a white Air Force 1. But to understand me and how I see the world is to understand what an AIR FORCE 1 means. Where did I buy it? I bought my first pair of black Air Force 1s from Foot Locker, which to me is profound in understanding the likes and similarities that Foot Locker has to a gallery infrastructure within the art world. I think these intersections between the real world and art world are the essence of what makes our contemporary art system valuable, and in my answers, lean upon where I think the future contextualization is. If you go to a Black community in America and you wear a pair of those shoes, it’s immediately understood what they mean. But they also exist as an object that has a secondary, tertiary understanding all over the world or no understanding. And therein lies the magic of my first art purchase. Thank you.” – VIRGIL ABLOH, 2021