When Virgil Abloh speaks, he throws out a lot of metaphors and million-dollar words that are bound to go over well in a creative meeting. It's often hard to understand what he's even talking about, which is really just a nicer way of saying Abloh seems like he's full of crap. Some may mistake his superfluous language for wisdom — and that's the target audience for a new book full of "Abloh-isms."
No More Rulers, an art collective with a Princeton University Press publishing deal, regularly puts out quote books from artists including Jean Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Ai Weiwei. This spring, it'll release two new books full of words from a new class of nebulous creatives, Virgil Abloh and Daniel Arsham.
Neither are on the same level as the artists whose books proceed them, but it's Abloh who's most fit to pick on because of the numerous allegations of plagiarism laid against him — and the very vague words that'll be printed inside Abloh-isms.
Perhaps the book has sorted through the nonsense — If a broken clock is right twice a day, Abloh is bound to have the occasional quote that rises above platitude. Four excerpts have been released from the upcoming book, and only one of them, the first, is plagued by the breathlessness often uttered by Abloh:
- "I believe that coincidence is key, but coincidence is energies coming towards each other. You have to be moving to meet it."
- "Life is collaboration. Where I think art can be sort of misguided is that it propagates this idea of itself as a solo love affair—one person, one idea, no one else involved."
- "Black influence has created a new ecosystem, which can grow and support different types of life that we couldn’t before."
- "Like it or not, irrelevance is death."
Sorting through Abloh's words to find what can be perceived as enlightenment must be a difficult task, and it's been undertaken by the editor Larry Warsh. Having read too many interviews with Abloh, I'm curious to see if any of his past drivel will, unfortunately, make the cut. What follows is my own excerpt of quotes that have sent my eyes rolling into a pile of pillows where I rest when exhausted by Abloh's plaudits:
- "I think Uber is a streetwear-type idea." — Hypebeast
- "I don't believe that fashion is needed to make fashion." — Dezeen
- "I don't want to be an engineer in the classic sense. And the only way to not do that is to do fifty percent engineering, fifty percent life." — The New Yorker
- "Typography is the realm where you can unlock the reality of what a garment is. It’s Photoshop 3.0." — 032c
At least it's cheap — Abloh-isms is far from the first book by or about Virgil, but one thing you can't call it is inaccessible. It'll go on sale March 16 for just $15 — you can pre-order it here — which is significantly cheaper than his Nike book ($70) or Figures of Speech ($96).
Those, however, are at least high-quality art books. Whether or not Abloh's words are worth spending $15 on, however, is a dubious proposition.