On Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” ft. Michael Darling & Lauren Peterson

The latest episode in our podcast series, Checking In

JULY 2019 – As part of the hotel’s ongoing partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago, we joined Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator at the MCA, and Lauren Peterson, Chicago-Midwest Regional Representative for Phillips – the leading auction house for the world’s most important collections of art, design, and jewelry – on a tour of hometown hero Virgil Abloh’s unprecedented exhibition, Figures of Speech. 

Listen in on a guided conversation with Darling, highlighting the show with insider curatorial knowledge drawing from his three years of close collaboration with Abloh developing the exhibition, from conceptualization to completion. This is the first museum exhibition devoted to Abloh’s work and comes full circle for the artist and designer, having grown up in the Chicago area and finding inspiration along Michigan Avenue just blocks away from the MCA.  

After closing its debut run at the MCA on September 22, Figures of Speech will evolve at museums across the country, beginning this November at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art before moving on to ICA Boston and The Brooklyn Museum in 2020 – with talks of international venues for future shows.  

Grab your headphones, head to the MCA, and tune into this Checking In podcast episode – the only curatorial audio guide of its kind – for our own “private” tour while you experience Figures of Speech, on view at the MCA now through September 22.  

Throughout the year, immerse yourself in art-inspired activations as part of MCA Checks In, the hotel’s ongoing partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art. Now through September 22, enhance your museum experience by booking Chicago Athletic Association’s  MCA Checks In room package, complete with discounted admission to Figures of Speech, an exhibition poster, transportation credit, and more. The first 10 packages reserved will receive an exclusive edition of the exhibition catalog, while supplies last. 

About Checking In
Checking In is live interview series hosted by the Chicago Athletic Association hotel, featuring discussions with those innovators who shape how we consider contemporary art and culture. Now moving well into its second century of existence, the Chicago Athletic Association hotel remains intent on capturing stories from those who write today’s narrative – because it’s never too late to start preserving history. Visit chicagoathleticevents.com to listen to other Checking In episodes, and learn more about what’s coming up at the hotel. 

About Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” 
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech,” the first museum exhibition devoted to the work of the genre-bending artist and designer Virgil Abloh (American, b. 1980). Abloh pioneers a practice that cuts across media and connects visual artists, musicians, graphic designers, fashion designers, and architects. 

Abloh cultivated an interest in design and music at an early age, finding inspiration in the urban culture of Chicago. While pursuing a master’s degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology, he connected with Kanye West and joined West’s creative team to work on album covers, concert designs, and merchandising. In 2013, Abloh founded his stand-alone fashion brand Off-White™ in Milan, Italy, and in 2018 assumed the position of Men’s Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton. 

Set in an immersive space designed by Samir Bantal, the Director of AMO, the research studio of Rem Koolhaas’s renowned architectural firm OMA, the MCA exhibition will offer an in-depth look at defining highlights of Abloh’s career including a program of cross-disciplinary offerings that will mirror the artist’s range of interests across music, fashion, architecture, and design. 

The exhibition is organized by Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator, with curatorial assistance from Chanon Kenji Praepipatmongkol, Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellow. It is presented in the Griffin Galleries of Art on the museum’s fourth floor. 

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