Tom Bonauro

American (1955)

Unlike the work of many graphic designers, who experiment with shifting typefaces and fields of color, the power of Tom Bonauro's work lies in single, enigmatic images that float in abstract space.

A self-taught designer, Bonauro's references are, in his words, "more often to Dada and Duchamp than to other designers." While a student at De Anza Community College in Cupertino, California, Bonauro was curator of the school's art gallery and designed flyers for its exhibitions. In the early 1980s he became, like many of his peers, part of the world of punk and new wave, and made a living designing posters for clubs and ads for underground papers.

Since then he has established an active practice that encompasses commercial work for such companies as Levi's and Todd Oldham, posters and identity packages for a variety of other clients, and a body of experimental work that includes Gnomon, a collaboration with John Randolph and Bruce Tomb.


From June 3, 2013, through early 2016, SFMOMA's building on Third Street in San Francisco will be temporarily closed for expansion construction. Selected artworks in our collection are included in a range of off-site exhibitions during this period. We regret that the remainder of the collection will not be available for study during this time.

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