The T List: Five Things We Recommend This Week

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Few fashion designers working today are openly referencing visual artists past and present quite like Duro Olowu, whose clothing is made from patchworks of colorful, sumptuous textiles in silhouettes that often recall those worn by film stars of yesteryear. So it’s only fitting that Olowu, who is married to Thelma Golden — the director of the Studio Museum in Harlem — has expanded into curatorial work, creating epoch-spanning exhibitions that juxtapose photography, painting, sculpture and textiles with his signature spirit of cosmopolitanism and spontaneity. His latest project of this kind, at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, draws largely from the Windy City’s wealth of public and private art collections. The personal-feeling result is crammed with local talent, including Kerry James Marshall, the Chicago Imagist Roger Brown and the city’s often overlooked Africobra collective. However, what stands out most is the knack Olowu, who worked with MCA senior curator Naomi Beckwith, has for gathering together work by artists you’d rarely find sharing space in an exhibition, including Jean Arp and Tomma Abts, Joseph Beuys and Ruth Asawa, and Barbara Kruger and Amy Sherald. It’s a reflection of how we live today, suspended in our own time and geography, but also — with the help of a more generous view — transcending it. “Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago” is on view through May 10, but the museum is currently closed through March 29 (so save this newsletter, and an in-person visit, for later), 220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago,