Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago

  • Griffin Galleries of Contemporary Art
    Fourth Floor
    220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611

Featured images

Clockwise: Magdalene Odundo, Teardrop I, 1996. Terracotta and slip. 20 × 16 in. (50.8 × 40.6 cm). The Art Institute of Chicago, Harriott A. Fox Endowment. © Magdalene Odundo. Photo: The Art Institute of Chicago/Art Resource, NY; Duro Olowu, Spring/Summer 2020, Look 1. Photo: Christina Ebenezer; and Jonas Dovydenas, Wedding Reception of Emilija and Romas Sakodolskis, Pakstas Hall, West 38th Street, 1977. Gelatin silver print; 8 × 12 in. (20.3 × 30.5 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of the artist, 1980.3.13. © 1977 Jonas Dovydenas. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Clockwise: Bruce Nauman, Bound to Fail (from the portfolio Eleven Color Photographs), 1966–67/1970/2007. Ink–jet print exhibition copy (originally chromogenic development print). Image: 19 7/8 × 23 5/8 in. (50.5 × 60 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Gerald S. Elliott Collection, 1994.11.h © 2019 Bruce Nauman/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago. Simone Leigh, No Face (House), 2017. Photo: © Simone Leigh; courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York. Duro Olowu, Spring/Summer 2020, Look 7. Photo: Christina Ebenezer
Clockwise: Toyin Ojih Odutola, An Exceptional Cloth (Adire), 2018. Charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper 40 × 30 inches (sheet); 45 ¼ x 35 5/8 × 2 ½ inches (framed). © Toyin Ojih Odutola. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York. Barbara Crane, People of the North Portal, 2018. Gelatin silver print; 19 ½ in x 15 ½ in. Collection Museum of Contemporary Photography, gift of Jeanne L. and Richard S. Press, 1986:232.92. Photo: Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago. Judy Chicago, Sky Sun from Flesh Gardens series, 1971. Sprayed acrylic lacquer on acrylic; 96 × 96 in. (244 × 244 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of The American Art Foundation by exchange, 2019.6. Photo: Courtesy of the artist, Salon 94, New York, and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco
Clockwise: Duro Olowu, Spring/Summer 2020, Look 22. Photo: Christina Ebenezer. Terry Adkins, Omohundro, 2002. Brass and copper; 60 × 29 × 8 in. (152.4 × 73.7 × 20.3 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, promised gift of Helen and Sam Zell, PG2018.1. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Salon 94, New York. Henri Matisse, Laurette with a Cup of Coffee, 1916–17. Oil on canvas; 22 11/16 × 15 11/16 in. (57.6 × 39.8 cm). The Art Institute Chicago, Estate of Marguerita S. Ritman; Marian and Samuel Klasstorner Endowment; through prior gifts of Philip D. Armour; through prior bequests of Dorothy C. Morris and Marguerita S. Ritman © 2019 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York) Photo: The Art Institute of Chicago/Art Resource, NY
Clockwise: Amy Sherald, Maybe if I wore a Mask, 2009. Oil on canvas; 71 × 51 in. From the private collection of Dr. Anita K. Blanchard and Martin H. Nesbitt. © Amy Sherald. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Ed Paschke, Untitled (portrait of a lady), 1975. Oil on canvas; 64 × 42 in. (162.6 × 106.7 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Marianne Deson Herstein in honor of Samuel and Sarah Deson and the MCA’s 40th anniversary, 2007.24. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago. Jimmy Walker, Chicago, Illinois, June 9, 1977. Photo: Jonas Dovydenas, Collector: Beverly J. Robinson, Retrieved from the Library of Congress
Daniele Tamagni, Sapeurs posing in front of Memorial Savorgnan de Brazz, Brazzaville, 2008. Chromogenic development print. Frame: 37 ½ in x 47 in; paper: 26 in x 36 in
Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago
Barbara Kruger, Untitled (Your moments of joy have the precision of military strategy.), 1980. Black and white photograph. 37 × 50 in. (94 × 127 cm). Collection of Liz and Eric Lefkofsky

Duro Olowu works at the crossroads of fashion, art, and culture.

Nigerian-born British designer Duro Olowu is internationally recognized for his womenswear label launched in 2004. Characterized by unique fabrics, evocative patterns, and impeccable construction, the London-based designer’s garments are informed by his international background and curator’s eye. Olowu’s multinational and multicultural viewpoint has translated into wildly popular platforms and projects from his dynamic Instagram account to his revelatory curatorial projects in London and New York.

Now Olowu turns his cosmopolitan eye to Chicago. Drawing from the city’s public and private art collections including works in the MCA’s collection, Olowu curates a show that reimagines relationships between artists and objects across time, media, and geography. Moving away from traditional exhibition formats, Olowu combines photographs, paintings, sculptures, and films in dense and textural scenes that incorporate his own work.

The exhibition is guest-curated by Duro Olowu and organized for the MCA by Naomi Beckwith, Manilow Senior Curator, with Jack Schneider, Curatorial Assistant.

The Exhibition Video

Nigerian-born British fashion designer and guest curator defines cosmopolitanism and what it means to see the world around you.


Lead support for Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago is provided by the Harris Family Foundation in memory of Bette and Neison Harris: Caryn and King Harris, Katherine Harris, Toni and Ron Paul, Pam Szokol, Linda and Bill Friend, and Stephanie and John Harris; Dimitris Daskalopoulos; Zell Family Foundation; and Cari and Michael Sacks.

Major support is provided by Mellody Hobson and Gael Neeson, Edlis-Neeson Foundation

Generous support is provided by Nancy and Steven Crown; Julie and Larry Bernstein, Robert J. Buford, Carylon Foundation, Ellen-Blair Chube, Marilyn and Larry Fields, Agnes Gund, Mirja and Ted Haffner, the Joyce Foundation, Anne L. Kaplan, Liz and Eric Lefkofsky, Carol Prins and John Hart/The Jessica Fund; Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, Denise and Gary Gardner; Lois and Steve Eisen and The Eisen Family Foundation, Leslie Bluhm and David Helfand, the Terra Foundation for American Art, on behalf of board member Nora Daley, Shawn M. Donnelley and Christopher M. Kelly, Susan D. Goodman and Rodney Lubeznik, Nickol and Darrel Hackett, Jennifer and Alec Litowitz, Mary Kay Touhy; Dr. Daniel S. Berger, Heiji and Brian Black, Dr. Anita Blanchard and Martin H. Nesbitt, Dr. John E. Ellis, Frieze New York, Brooke Garber Neidich, Rachel and David Grund, Vicki and Bill Hood, Cheryl Mayberry McKissack and Eric McKissack, and Regan Rohde and Phil Friedmann.