Remembering Virgil Abloh Through His Solo Museum Exhibition: Figures of Speech

⇡ “What is Virgil Abloh? №7,” 2017
Juergen Teller (Photography and lightbox), MCA Chicago

In 2019, the Museum of Modern Art Chicago dedicated its entire 4th floor (Griffin Galleries of Art) to present the mid-career retrospective of Virgil Abloh, his first solo museum exhibition. The immersive presentation of Abloh’s work, which now has been traveling to multiple art institutions, was an in-depth look at Abloh’s genre-bending media practices. What was supposed to be the first of many to come, this exhibition now serves as the landmarked moment for the world to remember Abloh who passed away this past Sunday after two years of battling with a rare form of cancer in private.

⇡ “Affirmative Action,” 2015
bien Montique (Ink-jet print) | Art direction by Virgil Abloh, MCA Chicago

When we think of Abloh, we remember a creative mind that brought together disparate references to reflect a moment in time, a disruptor who bravely and confidently injected his own cultural DNA into the establishments, a collaborator who bridged art, design, fashion, music, and architecture into one universal medium, and a rule-breaker who believed the impossible possible.

⇠ “Church & State,” 2019
Virgil Abloh × MCA pop-up store, MCA Chicago

In searching for a way to honor his passing that was meaningful, we revisited the images captured at Abloh’s first solo museum exhibition, Figures of Speech. Going through the archived images from the exhibition made us more aware of his practices and approaches that break boundaries, change the tides, pave the ways, and open the doors for generations to come. We posted a selection of images from the exhibition along with the corresponded exhibition notes on our website

“You’re Obviously in the Wrong Place,” 2015–2019
Virgil Abloh, MCA Chicago

Disclaimer All images were captured from our visit to the Exhibition “Figures of Speech” at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. All credits go to the rightful owners of the exhibited items.

Originally published at on December 1, 2021.



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