City Life Org – Brooklyn Museum’s Virgil Abloh Presentation: “Figures of Speech” opens July 1, 2022, examining the prolific career of late artist and designer Virgil Abloh
Photo © Juergen Teller, All rights reserved
The exhibit will feature never-before-seen items and objects from the Abloh Archive, displayed in the Brooklyn Museum’s Great Hall.
the Brooklyn Museum presents Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech”, the first museum exhibition devoted to the work of artist and designer Virgil Abloh. “Figures of Speech” features significant artifacts from Abloh’s multifaceted career, including collaborations with artist Takashi Murakami, musician Kanye West, and architect Rem Koolhaas, among others; gear from her fashion brand Off-White; and designs from Louis Vuitton, where he served as the first artistic director of black menswear until his death in November 2021. The exhibit traces two decades of Abloh’s work, highlighting how his focus on collaboration and his unique creative process have reshaped popular notions of, and contemporary taste in fashion, art, commerce, design and youth culture. Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” is curated by Michael Darling, Chief Curator James W. Alsdorf, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The Brooklyn Museum presentation is curated by guest curator Antwaun Sargent and is on view July 1, 2022 through January 29, 2023.
Abloh’s “social sculpture,” which anchors the exhibit in the central atrium of the museum’s Great Hall, is new to the Brooklyn Museum’s “Figures of Speech” display.
Drawing on Abloh’s background in architecture, the “social sculpture” provides a physical space for gathering and performance, and showcases Abloh’s cross-disciplinary inspirations in music, design and the arts. visuals. The installation was designed by Abloh to counter the historical lack of space given to black artists and black people in cultural institutions. Other items added for the Brooklyn exhibit include works from the past three years as well as previously unseen archival material. The presentation will have a new design developed with the late artist especially for the Brooklyn Museum, and will include showcases in the form of architectural tables – a nod to Abloh’s studio practice and his training as an architect as well as a visual representation of his art treat.
Anne Pasternak, Director of Shelby White and Leon Levy at the Brooklyn Museum, says, “We have worked with Virgil and his exceptional team on bringing his exhibition to the Brooklyn Museum for over three years, and throughout our journey, we have never only had one goal. : to celebrate his explosive talent and how he opened doors for young BIPOC artists.
“Over our years of collaboration, Virgil and I have sought to reflect on his expansive practice in new ways,” says Sargent. “The exhibition includes objects and materials from his archive that evoke how he blurred the boundaries of different mediums to create something entirely his own. The exhibition also includes a new monumental sculpture, designed by the artist, which highlights how Virgil’s creativity has empowered young people to explore their own ideas in ways that refocus art and design.
The son of Ghanaian immigrants, Abloh grew up in the Chicago area. At a young age he expressed an interest in the intersections of music, fashion and art. His first experience of artistic collaboration dates back to 2007, when emerging musician Kanye West invited Abloh to join his creative team. It was at this time that Abloh moved from architecture, for which he was pursuing a master’s degree, to album covers, concert design, merchandising and fashion with West and his team. In 2012, the artist launched Pyrex Vision, a fashion and art project that explored contemporary youth culture through film and a capsule collection of sportswear, drawing inspiration from both college lettering and of the canonical art of the Renaissance. Pyrex Vision was quickly followed by the creation in 2013 of Off-White, Abloh’s standalone fashion brand based in Milan, Italy. Off-White stands out for its use of text, graphics, graffiti and logos to explore the coded language of fashion and art, and its culturally imposed rules. While retaining Off-White, Abloh also took on the role of Men’s Artistic Director at Louis Vuitton in 2018, making him the first black man to lead the famed luxury brand, as well as one of the few black designers to lead a great French fashion. lodge.
The exhibit includes garments from Abloh’s iconic collections at Off-White and Louis Vuitton; video of her parades; the highlights of his work as a DJ; and design examples from his furniture collections, graphics, and other collaborative projects. The act of deconstruction as a design element is a common theme in Abloh’s work, with the artist using dark gaze to dismantle traditionally made-white structures at work in fashion, design, l architecture and art. Abloh then reconstructs new works through the prism of black cultural experience, altering his design just enough for the viewer to notice.
“Figures of Speech” traces Abloh’s exploration of the communicative power of design. His unexpected use of language and quotation marks turns his creations, and the people who engage in them, into literal figures of speech. This innovative approach to language and the way people interact with it gave rise to a playful, Duchampian style. In addition, the artist often combined art historical references with a popular culture aesthetic, such as when highlighting a painting by Caravaggio in his Pyrex Vision line, using a reproduction of a surrealist painting by Giorgio de Chirico on a dress and referred to the Italian modernist. Lucio Fontana’s lacerated canvases with roughly cut patches and scraps of fabric affixed to patterns. He also collaborated with artist Jenny Holzer to develop video projections of refugee experiences, which paraded across a screen during Off-White’s Spring/Summer 2018 runway presentation. One of Abloh’s earliest collaborations has been with artist Takashi Murakami. The two have worked together on numerous projects over the past decade, from designing Kanye West’s Graduation album cover to Abloh’s first solo exhibition at Murakami’s art gallery in Tokyo.
The Brooklyn Museum exhibition also explores Abloh’s relationship with New York City, both in his collaborations and his influences. He worked as a guest designer for Shayne Oliver’s innovative New York brand, Hood By Air, in 2012, when the brand helped introduce the city’s unique streetwear style to the world of high fashion. Abloh has also frequently collaborated with rap collective A$AP Mob, led by New York rapper A$AP Rocky. Their relationship dates back to 2012, when members of A$AP Mob were featured in the A Team with No Sport video, which promoted the launch of Pyrex Vision. A notable line in much of Abloh’s work is his relationship to the sound and aesthetic of hip-hop, a genre whose history is largely rooted in New York City.
Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” is curated by Michael Darling, Chief Curator James W. Alsdorf, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The Brooklyn Museum presentation is curated by Antwaun Sargent, independent curator and writer.
Tickets for Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” will go on sale to the general public on Thursday, March 10, 2022. Members will have access to a presale to reserve free tickets starting Thursday, February 24, 2022. To become a member, contact membership @brooklynmuseum.org. Due to COVID-19 capacity restrictions, all visitors must have a timed ticket.
A publication, published by Prestel, has been produced for Virgil Abloh’s presentation at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago: “Figures of Speech” and will be available for purchase at the Brooklyn Museum. The first section features essays and an interview that examine Abloh’s pioneering practice through the lens of contemporary art history, architecture, streetwear, haute couture and running to give a insight into a prolific and impactful career that spans media, connecting visual artists, musicians, graphic designers, fashion designers, big brands and architects.
The book also contains an archive of images culled from Abloh’s personal files on major projects, revealing behind-the-scenes snapshots, prototypes, inspirations, and more, all presented with intimate artist commentary. A magnificent 101-page color plate section offers a detailed view of Abloh’s work across all disciplines. The volume includes essays by curator Michael Darling; Michael Rock, Creative Director, 2×4; author and photographer Taiye Selasi; and writer and curator Lou Stoppard; an in-depth conversation with the artist led by Rem Koolhaas; and contributions from Samir Bantal and Anja Aronowsky Cronberg.
A showroom will feature Virgil Abloh and Off-White products. Items will include t-shirts, hoodies, pants, caps, tote bags, postcards, posters and zines. Only exhibit ticket holders will be able to access the Abloh Exhibit Store.
Major support for this exhibition is provided by Northern Trust.
Visiting the exhibition is made possible by Kenneth C. Griffin.