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Inside The Virgil Abloh: "Figures of Speech" Exhibit At The Brooklyn Museum
A new exhibit has opened at the Brooklyn Museum to honor the work, life, and legacy of Virgil Abloh.
Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” takes a deep dive into the artist and designer’s sketches and designs. There are exclusive sketches from his time at Off-White and Louis Vuitton Men’s from the past 20 years. Work from Abloh’s high school architecture assignments and college sketchbooks are also parts of the exhibit.
The exhibit is developed by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and features collaborations with Takashi Murakami, Kanye West, architect Rem Koolhaas and more.
Abloh is a first-generation Ghanaian American who changed the fashion industry with his streetwear label Off-White. He became the first designer to take the role of artistic director of menswear for luxury brand Louis Vuitton. Abloh worked in this role from 2018 until his death in November 2021. He was only 41 years old at the time of his death.
Virgil Abloh: ‘Figures of Speech’
The exhibit was organized by guest curator and writer Antwaun Sargent and is a culmination of over 100 works including a Social Sculpture, a full-sized home, which was placed inside the museum. In addition to being a designer and artist, Abloh was a trained architect.
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“The work is designed with the promise and principles of what the artist David Hammons once termed ‘negritude architecture,’ which he defined as ‘the way Black people make things, houses our magazine stands in Harlem, for instance,’” says the Brooklyn Museum.
“Abloh considered the sculpture a representation of Black space, a living monument that holds the potential, through the exchange of ideas, to inspire the creation of more Black space,” adds the museum.
According to Sargent, the wooden home inside the museum is meant as a space where artists and designers can meet to share ideas and inspiration.
Sargent reveals that the exhibit was planned before the pandemic and before Abloh’s untimely death. Abloh had a deep love and connection to New York.
“The fact that we’re having this exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, in an encyclopedic institution, is a testament to how boundaries were reshaped by Virgil in a way that allowed for Black creativity and concerns within spaces of architecture, fashion, and art to be fully recognized,” says Sargent to TIME.
Since the exhibit was in the works when Abloh was alive, it is, in a sense, the last living work by the creative genius before his passing last November.
Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” will be open from July 1st through January 29, 2023.