"Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech" will offer an overview of the revolutionary designer's work in the first major exhibition since Abloh's untimely death.
Months after his death that stunned the worlds of art and fashion, Virgil Abloh is getting his first museum survey exhibition. The Brooklyn Museum announced on Monday that it will host “Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech,” a show that will offer an overview of the wide-ranging and pioneering fashion designer and cultural figure’s work from July of this year to January 2023.
The retrospective will feature clothing Abloh designed, immersive installations, large-scale sculpture, videos, and archival sketches. “This is the first museum survey exhibition devoted to late artist and designer Virgil Abloh, whose work reshaped notions of contemporary fashion, art, commerce, design, and youth culture,” the museum said in the announcement of its 2022 exhibition schedule.
The show is an adaptation of Abloh’s solo exhibition of the same name that debuted in 2019 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The reception of that first iteration of the exhibition spoke to Abloh’s influence — at the time, the Chicago museum’s chief curator Michael Darling (who is organizing this Brooklyn Museum exhibition) said that the show had nearly doubled the museum’s average attendance.
Abloh died on November 28, 2021, after a private battle with a rare form of heart cancer. News of his passing shocked the world and prompted an outpouring of tributes from major figures and average fashion enthusiasts, whose tastes he arguably singlehandedly defined, alike. By the time of his death at only 41, Abloh had managed to not only break barriers as a Black man in fashion’s high societies, becoming the first-ever Black Artistic Director at Luis Vuitton or any LVMH brand, but in fact, completely reoriented the shape of culture itself.
The Brooklyn Museum exhibition will run from July of this year to January of 2023, ushering in a bittersweet era — one that will posthumously attempt to capture and honor the singularity of Abloh’s brilliance, and likely never truly succeed in doing so.