The unconventional ascent of Virgil Abloh—former creative director to Kanye West, whisperer behind couldn’t-be-hotter brand Off-White and artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton—is so not-by-the-books it sounds downright apocryphal. Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf chief curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, where the show originated, sums it up well: “A kid from Rockford, Ill., that studied engineering and architecture, then heading up a French fashion house, is so different from the typical story of going to Central Saint Martins [in London], learning your craft, apprenticing for a designer and then eventually getting a shot yourself.” Perfect timing, then, for the museum’s upcoming survey Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech, which showcases the 39-year-old multihyphenate’s contributions to graphic design, fashion, music, furniture, architecture and other fields as he continues to refine an already clarion creative voice.
On display at High Museum of Art through March 8, it’s the first solo museum exhibition of his career. It highlights Abloh’s interdisciplinary ethic by consolidating his areas of interest under one roof (with exhibition design from Samir Bantal of AMO, the research offshoot of Rem Koolhaas’ OMA), bringing a rapidly growing archive into clearer focus. Says Rand Suffolk, Nancy and Holcombe T. Green Jr. director of the High: “Atlanta’s cultural community personifies style, trend-setting and pushing the limits of traditional design. We know Abloh’s work will resonate with our audience, just as it has been celebrated worldwide.” Circle memberships from $1,200, 1280 Peachtree St., high.org