Tux ‘n’ Trainers

The New Museum hosted its 40th annual spring gala last week at Cipriani Wall Street in New York. The event honored artist Chris Ofili and had a “Tux ‘n’ Trainers” theme, requiring guests to pair their formal attire with sneakers. SURFACE showed up to ask noteworthy attendees how they chose their footwear.

John Waters

Oh, I don’t know! I wear these a lot. They’re Comme des Garçons—they go with everything!

Jack Whitten


Well, these are homemade. I spray painted them.

Marilyn Minter, Bill Miller, and Cindy Sherman

These are the ones I wear every day!

I can never ever wear them out.

I’m not wearing trainers because I didn’t think it went with what I was wearing!

 Marcus and Cherie Weldon

I grew up in the U.K., and Adidas were our favorite sneakers because of soccer. I’ve always liked Adidas shoes, and we found his and hers matching.

They’re Margiela.

I just wanted to be comfortable.

Michael Stipe and Thomas Dozol

I think trainers are stupid, so I wore boots … like a lumberjack.

I was thinking ‘Happy Birthday’ because I got them as a birthday gift. My wife picked them out, so I was thinking ‘Thank you,’ I guess.

Bill Powers and Cynthia Rowley

They were the least beat-up sneakers I had in my closet, and they were a father’s day gift, so they say ‘Best Dad’ in there.

Karen Wong and Chris Ofili

(Chris had no comment)

I was looking for sneakers that were futuristic. Future forward.

Racquel Chevremont and Mickalene Thomas

(Yes, that’s New Museum’s own Paul Jackson photobombing in the background)

I was thinking of height when I put on these shoes. I wanted to be tall and towering and Amazon-like.

I chose them because they’re so comfortable. I walk miles and miles because I’m obsessed with this app that counts your steps everyday.

Julian Schnabel and a friend

These are really light.

You know, I like these sneakers. They have a blue, kind of patent leather quality to them and black canvas. I just enjoy them.

(Photos: Antwan Duncan)