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Past Exhibitions


Hung on a cement wall, a yellow neon sentence reads "You're obviously in the wrong place."

Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech”

November 12, 2019–March 8, 2020

This fall, the High presents the first museum exhibition devoted to the work of Virgil Abloh, the modern, genre-bending artist and designer who became creative director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear in 2018.

Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” offers an unprecedented survey of Abloh’s creative work over nearly two decades and pulls back the curtain on his process. The exhibition presents prototypes alongside finished artworks, product designs, and fashion to reveal his myriad inspirations—from centuries-old paintings to commonplace construction signs. Running throughout the exhibition is an emphasis on dialogue, which Abloh creates through his inventive use of language and quotation marks, turning the objects he designs and the people who wear his clothing into “figures of speech.”

The works on view will offer an in-depth look at the defining highlights of Abloh’s career, including his recent designs for Louis Vuitton menswear collection, video documentation of his most iconic fashion shows, and his distinctive furniture and graphic design work.

Click on an image below to learn more.

This twenty-year survey shows how I am constantly looking for a way to transform myself from consumer to producer, navigating a path between “Tourist” and “Purist,” between the literal and the figurative. –Virgil Abloh

About the Artist
Virgil Abloh poses seated on a wooden staircase.
Photo by Katrina Wittkamp.

Virgil Abloh (American, born 1980) has made a career of questioning assumptions and subverting expectations.

Raised in the Chicago area, Abloh trained as an architect but found his calling as a fashion designer. Since then he has continued to work across disciplines, collaborating with graphic and furniture designers, musicians, and contemporary artists, as well as other fashion designers. In undertaking projects in new fields, he not only influences the conversations within them but also expands their traditional audiences, reaching millions through social media.

"Church & State"

“Church & State” is an extension of the Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” exhibition. Building on his fame and dominance in streetwear culture, Abloh created the “Church & State” pop-up store to present special collection pieces that commemorate important moments in the lifecycle of his brand.

“Church & State” features pieces from the brand Pyrex Vision, Abloh’s first foray into fashion, along with a limited number of signature Off-White pieces, furniture from his studio Alaska Alaska, and special-edition gear created for the show.

Abloh enlisted trusted collaborators including Tremaine Emory to co-create limited-edition hoodies and T-shirts emblazoned with “FOS” (“Figures of Speech”) that are only available at the High’s exhibition.

Visit “Church & State” after your tour of the exhibition to see the most recent iterations of Abloh’s juncture between art and fashion.




WABE | “Virgil Abloh’s Popular ‘Figures of Speech’ Exhibit Comes to the High”
Creative Loafing
 | “Fall Arts Preview 2019”
Atlanta Journal Constitution | “The many talents of designer Virgil Abloh on display at the High”
ArtsATL | “”Figures of Speech” at the High Museum “tells the story arc of my career,” says Virgil Abloh”
Hypebeast | “Virgil Abloh Opens “Figures of Speech” Exhibition at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art”
Atlanta Magazine | “From Yeezus to Nike: Your guide to the High Museum’s Virgil Abloh exhibition”
Visionary Artistry Magazine | “Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech”

Organization and Support

Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. The exhibition tour is made possible by Kenneth C. Griffin.
This exhibition is designed by Samir Bantal, Director of AMO, the research and design studio of OMA.

This exhibition is made possible by

Premier Exhibition Series Sponsor

Delta logo.
Invesco logo.

Exhibition Series Sponsors

Northside Hospital logo.

Warner Media logo.

Premier Exhibition Series Supporters
The Antinori Foundation
Sarah and Jim Kennedy
Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot
wish Foundation logo.

Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporter
Anne Cox Chambers Foundation

Ambassador Exhibition Supporters
Tom and Susan Wardell
Rod Westmoreland

Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters
Lucinda W. Bunnen
Marcia and John Donnell
W. Daniel Ebersole and Sarah Eby-Ebersole
Peggy Foreman
Robin and Hilton Howell
Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones
Joel Knox and Joan Marmo
Margot and Danny McCaul
The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust

Generous support is also provided by
Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, Isobel Anne Fraser–Nancy Fraser Parker Exhibition Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, and the RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund.