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Chicago area’s streetwear scene showcased in work of Virgil Abloh

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents Prime Time: “Question Everything,” a dynamic museum takeover with special late night access to Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech,” the first-ever museum exhibition devoted to the work of the genre-bending artist and designer Virgil Abloh, in addition to a mix of live music, performances, interactive programs, and food and drink. This after-hours event taps into the creative pulse of Chicago’s streetwear scene with fashion shows of innovative Chicago designers including Sheila Rashid, Brandon Breaux, Tatiana Hazel, Sir and Madame, Trap House Chicago and Abigail Glaum Lathbury, who also facilitate pop-up shops of their designs around the museum campus.

Inspired by Abloh’s practice, Prime Time: “Question Everything” blurs the lines between formal and everyday art forms. Visitors are invited to roller skate in a custom roller skating rink set up in the museum’s Edlis Neeson Theater, with spectacular performances from Glide8orz Skate Crew, a group formed on Chicago’s South Side. Artist Brendan Fernandes activates the Commons engagement space with dance parties for museum visitors alongside professional dancers, in between live musical performances by Tatiana Hazel, Duane Powell, South Shore Drill Team, and The Illustrious Blacks, who also emcee the event.

DJ Powell IMG 0424
DJ DUANE POWELL will play the hits at the upcoming Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” event, which showcases the best and brightest in the world of Chicago streetwear with creations by hot Chicago designers. Photo: Christopher Andrew of Stoptime Live.

Prime Time: “Question Everything” takes place Saturday, June 29, from 7-11 p.m. at the MCA and is curated by January Parkos Arnall, Curator of Public Programs, and Christy LeMaster, Assistant Curator of Public Programs, with Tara Aisha Willis, Associate Curator of Performance, and Laura Paige Kyber, Performance Curatorial Assistant.

This event is in conjunction with MCA’s Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech,” the first-ever museum exhibition devoted to the work of Abloh. Set in an immersive space designed by Samir Bantal, a Director of AMO, the research studio of Rem Koolhaas’s renowned architecture firm OMA, the exhibition focuses on the creative process and collaborative work of Abloh who is redefining fashion, art and design. Chicago artist Abloh is pioneering a new creative discipline that ranges across media and is at its core deeply collaborative, connecting visual art-

ists, musicians, designers, and architects. This exhibit runs until September 22, 2019.

Michael Darling says, “An exhibition like this in a major contemporary art museum is the next milestone in the evolution of Virgil’s practice. This show examines the choices Virgil has made, the media he works with and the context of his artistic inspiration. His projects have unfurled with intention, precision, critique, historical awareness, cultural sensitivity, and rigor, and when taken out of the buzzy, frothy context of luxury fashion, celebrity mannequins, and hip hop one-upmanship, a very measured vision emer- ges.”

An artist who is always in motion, Virgil’s approach to fashion is equally inspired by contemporary art, his architectural training and the style-conscious world of music. He uses the codes of fashion to deconstruct modes of dress in a playful, Duchampian style. His inspiration began with the street fashion in urban centers like Chicago, where looks emerge spontaneously and organically from trendsetting youth. Likewise, his work celebrates the ethos of streetwear and culture, where high culture is appropriated, altered, and served up as something fresh and new. The MCA exhibition offers an in-depth look at the defining highlights of Virgil’s career with signature collections, video documentation of his most iconic shows, music highlights, and his distinctive collections of furniture, design, and graphic work.

The sections of the exhibit include Early Work, Fashion, Music, Intermezzo and Black Gaze.

Raised outside of Chicago by parents who emigrated from Ghana, Abloh trained in engineering and architecture, but from an early age cultivated an interest in music, fashion, and design. While pursuing a master’s degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology, the artist connected with a then-emerging Kanye West, joining a fledgling creative team to work on album covers, concert designs and merchandising. Virgil took the experience gained from working with West to his own stand-alone fashion brand Off-White™, which is designed in Milan, Italy, and presented at the seasonal shows of Paris fashion week alongside luminaries of the high fashion world. Most recently, Abloh’s profile expanded, when he became the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection.

Tickets to Prime Time: “Question Everything” are $45 at the door and $40 in advance. Tickets are available for purchase through the MCA Box Office (312.397.4010) or at mcach- Prime Time: “Question Everything” is for visitors 18 and older and IDs are required.

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