The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents Virgil Abloh: "Figures of Speech," the first museum exhibition devoted to the work of the genre-bending artist and designer Virgil Abloh (American, b. 1980). Abloh pioneers a practice that cuts across media and connects visual artists, musicians, graphic designers, fashion designers, and architects.
Abloh cultivated an interest in design and music at an early age, finding inspiration in the urban culture of Chicago. While pursuing a master’s degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology, he connected with Kanye West and joined West’s creative team to work on album covers, concert designs, and merchandising. In 2013, Abloh founded his stand-alone fashion brand Off-White™ in Milan, Italy, and in 2018 assumed the position of artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear.
Set in an immersive space designed by Rem Koolhaas's renowned architecture firm OMA*AMO, the MCA exhibition will offer an in-depth look at defining highlights of Abloh’s career, including signature clothing collections, video documentation of iconic fashion shows, distinctive furniture and graphic design work, and collaborative projects with artists such as Jenny Holzer, Arthur Jafa, and John Baldessari. A program of cross-disciplinary offerings will mirror the artist’s range of interests across music, fashion, architecture, and design.
The exhibition is organized by Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator, with curatorial assistance from Molly Brandt and Chanon Kenji Praepipatmongkol. It is presented in the Griffin Galleries of Art on the museum’s fourth floor.
Lead support for Virgil Abloh:“Figures of Speech” is provided by the Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette and Neison Harris: Caryn and King Harris, Katherine Harris, Toni and Ron Paul, Pam and Joe Szokol, Linda and Bill Friend, and Stephanie and John Harris; Zell Family Foundation; Cari and Michael J. Sacks; Marilyn, Larry, and Adam Fields; Karyn and Bill Silverstein; and Matt Bayer and Joyce Yaung and the Bayer Family Foundation.
Major support is provided by Conagra Brands Foundation, Anne L. Kaplan, Liz and Eric Lefkofsky, Jennifer and Alec Litowitz, and Phillips.
Generous support is contributed by Ellen-Blair Chube, Efroymson Family Fund, Susie L. Karkomi and Marvin Leavitt, Anna Lee, and Heiji and Brian Black.
Lead Education Partner is The Heart of Neiman Marcus Foundation