Virgil Abloh is set to be the subject of a new retrospective at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago next summer. Titled “Virgil Abloh: Figure of Speech,” the exhibition two years in the making will feature work of the DJ, designer, and most recently artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear. Abloh’s lifework from his work at Kanye West’s creative agency Donda, his personal brand Off-White, his architectural works, and more will be on display. In addition, Abloh will create never-before-seen items exclusively for the exhibit.
“Virgil absolutely fits the mold here,” MCA curator Michael Darling told the Chicago Tribune. “He’s this multimedia artist who has his hands in all these disciplines and serves as a really interesting example of how artists don’t see boundaries for themselves these days.” The show will chart his journey from his early days designing album covers, set designs, and merch for Kanye West as the rapper’s creative director, through to the launch of Off-White, Abloh’s clothing and furniture brand. It will also examine the designer’s relationship with, and impact on, today’s youth culture, and how he’s tapped into the zeitgeist to inform his work. Abloh is a true tour de force, taking on a wide range of collaborations—both high and low—that merge his passions for art, fashion, furniture, streetwear, and beyond. He’s designed for IKEA and Nike, opened Off-White shops around the world, and deejayed more sets than he can count at this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach, with no plans to slow down anytime soon.
MCA’s show will feature Abloh’s fashion, furniture, and graphic designs alongside programming aimed at educating and empowering young generations. It’s fitting that his first solo exhibition will open in Chicago—the windy city is Abloh’s hometown and where he earned his undergraduate degree.