Launching in summer 2019, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents Virgil Abloh: "Figures of Speech"
Virgil Abloh: "Figures of Speech," the first museum exhibition devoted to the work of the ultramodern, genre-bending artist and designer Virgil Abloh. Set in an immersive space designed by Rem Koolhaas and his renowned architecture firm AMO OMA, the exhibition focuses on the creative process and collaborative work of Virgil who is redefining and democratizing design. Virgil pioneers a new creative discipline that ranges across media and is at its core deeply collaborative, connecting visual artists, musicians, graphic designers, fashion designers, and architects. Virgil Abloh: "Figures of Speech" is organized by MCA Chief Curator Michael Darling and will run from June 10 to September 22, 2019. Virgil is the third artist in a trilogy of groundbreaking exhibitions by Darling of artists who have redefined their fields, including David Bowie in 2014 and Takashi Murakami in 2017.
Michael Darling says, "An exhibition like this in a major contemporary art museum is the next milestone in the evolution of Virgil's practice. This show examines the choices Virgil has made, the media he works with, and the context of his artistic inspiration. His projects have unfurled with intention, precision, critique, historical awareness, cultural sensitivity, and rigor, and when taken out of the buzzy, frothy context of luxury fashion, celebrity mannequins, and hip hop one-upmanship, a very measured vision emerges."
An artist who is always in motion, Virgil's approach to fashion is equally inspired by contemporary art, his architectural training, and the style-conscious world of music. He uses the codes of fashion to deconstruct modes of dress in a playful, Duchampian style. His inspiration began with the readymade of streetwear in urban centers like Chicago, where looks emerge spontaneously and organically from trend-setting youth. Likewise, his work celebrates the ethos of street fashion, where high culture is appropriated, sometimes corrupted, and served up as something fresh and new. The MCA exhibition will offer an in-depth look at the defining highlights of Virgil's career with signature collections, video documentation of his most iconic shows, and his distinctive collections of furniture and graphic design work, along with his collaborative projects with artists such as Jenny Holzer, Arthur Jafa, and John Baldessari.
Raised outside of Chicago by parents who emigrated from Ghana, Virgil trained in engineering and architecture, but from an early age cultivated an interest in music, fashion, and design. While pursuing a master's degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology, the artist connected with a then-emerging Kanye West, joining a fledgling creative team to work on album covers, concert designs, and merchandising. Virgil took the experience gained from working with West to his own stand-alone fashion brand Off-White™, which is designed in Milan, Italy, and presented at the seasonal shows of Paris fashion week alongside luminaries of the high fashion world. Most recently, Virgil's profile expanded when he became the Creative Director of Louis Vuitton's menswear collection. A full program of cross-disciplinary offerings will mirror the artist's range of interests across music, fashion, architecture, and design. Following its presentation at the MCA, Virgil Abloh: "Figures of Speech" will travel to select venues nationally and internationally.
Hours and Tickets
The MCA presents Virgil Abloh: "Figures of Speech" from June 10 to September 22, 2019.
Timed admission tickets to view the exhibition will go on sale on Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 10 am CST online only at www.mcachicago.org. These advance tickets are available for the regular admission price ($15). Anyone 18 and under is free. Tickets for MCA members go on sale on October 15, 2018.
The MCA will also be open every Monday throughout the run of the exhibition from 10 am to 5 pm, in addition to regular museum hours: Tuesday and Friday: 10 am - 9 pm; Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm.