Posts tagged with "Virgil Abloh":

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Thomas Kelley reviews Virgil Abloh’s mid-career retrospective

Entry into Virgil Abloh’s mid-career retrospective, "Figures of Speech,” at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago begins with a calculated provocation: tourist or purist? According to the catalog foreword written by the exhibition’s curator, Michael Darling, the dichotomy signifies the artist’s split personality— connoisseur and aspirant—and serves as a ­­­welcome mat for all audiences to participate in a cultural flashpoint where style destabilizes class (note: the exhibition is aptly dedicated to the youth of Chicago). From this outset, the exhibition tone aims for egalitarianism. To arrive at this seemingly accessible provocation, however, requires the observer to first pass through a retinal barrage. The exhibition’s lobby includes a floor-to-ceiling collage of images as far ranging as the epileptic singer Ian Curtis to the 9/11 WTC bombings—recalling OMA/AMO’s 2004 book-zine monograph, Content—and serves as fast entry into the artist’s ever-expanding cult of cultural clashes. It comes as no surprise that Samir Bantal, director of AMO, is credited as the exhibition’s designer. In addition to an equally satisfying collage pitting images of Le Corbusier over ARCHITECTURE and Abloh over “ARCHITECT,” one is subsumed into the allure of a retail pop-up store, titled “Church and State,” offering limited Off-WhiteTM clothing, gradient furniture, and exhibition catalogs immersed within a life-size wallpaper photo-essay by the German photographer Juergen Teller. And don’t worry if you can’t afford the catalog, there’s also a free copy machine on site. Yet, for the public to even arrive at this exquisite amalgamation of gallery-cum-shop-cum-academy-cum…, means also visiting an outbreak of satellite ventures c/o Abloh across the city that include the NikeLab Chicago Re-Creation Center, where old sneakers can be donated and ground into a reusable architectural finish, or a temporary Louis Vuitton residency in an orange painted building within which stands a David-sized mannequin of the rapper Juice Wrld. So, to reset: the exhibition does not actually start in the lobby of the Museum of Contemporary Art, but rather, on the streets of Chicago. Even the museum’s Mies van der Rohe Way facade has been rebranded with “CITY HALL” and a black flag that breathes “QUESTION EVERYTHING” in white Helvetica lettering. Fifteen years later, Abloh and Bantal appear to have manifested Content’s flat ambition into something truly three-dimensional. Read the full story on our interiors and design site,
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Virgil Abloh looks to the past for Vitra Campus installation

Multi-hyphenate creative entrepreneur Virgil Abloh is known for many things: a successful DJ career, a thriving design practice, and the artistic direction of major fashion house Louis Vuitton. Tapping into the contemporary zeitgeist of our overly-saturated image and information culture, the 38-year-old polymath often infuses his work with explicit and at times, nuanced socio-political commentary.

Whether developing a new shoewear line for his own label Off-White or spinning a mashup set at prestigious events like Robert Wilson’s Annual Watermill Center Summer Benefit, Abloh transcends disciplines that, to this day, remain siloed. Breaking down the wall of high and low culture and doing away with this cliched divide altogether, the contemporary renaissance man transitions between the top echelons of the art world and that of mass consumer culture with ease.

And yet, this enigma of a figure has been accused of being a mimic—jumping on the bandwagon of the latest trends and repacking certain forms using the right marketable vocabulary. He has even been called a dilettante—a play on the current conditions of celebrities dabbling in different domains without really ever having to demonstrate any level of expertise or reflection. Mired cynicism aside, it’s hard to forget that Abloh did actually train as an architect and, unlike some of his contemporaries, is able to produce strong, relevant work, regardless of the smokescreen hype that surrounds him. Though he might not exercise a traditional mode of academic analysis, his overall output demonstrates a strong sense of cultural awareness and critique.

Read the full story on our interiors and design site,