Tobias Wong

February 25–July 24, 2011

Arguably contemporary design’s most nimble provocateur, Tobias Wong staged his debut in 2001 and continued — until his untimely death at age 35 in 2010 — to produce an extraordinary body of work he designated “paraconceptual” and “postinteresting.” Drawing inspiration from various anti-art practices, Wong probed and subverted design’s complicity with the culture of late capitalism, exposing its smoke and mirrors while exercising his own sleight of hand. With a unique mix of critical intelligence, courage, sincerity, and mischief, as well as a cadre of talented collaborators, Wong steadily pursued his obsession with the interplay of anxiety and consumerism in the years following 9/11. The allure of luxury goods; the cult of the celebrity designer; the stubborn failure of objects to provide the benefits demanded of them: these are among the concerns he explored across a protean body of work that encompassed objects, furniture, lighting, jewelry, installation, and performance. This is the first in-depth presentation of Wong’s work in a museum and will be presented alongside an exhibition drawn from the permanent collection called ParaDesign.

Tobias Wong, black duvet
Tobias Wong, three gold objects
Tobias Wong, ballistic rose

Tobias Wong, Bulletproof Quilted Duvet, 2004; collection Josee Lepage; © Estate of Tobias Wong

Tobias Wong and Ju$t another Rich Kid, Coke Spoon 01, Coke Spoon 02, and Swizzle Stick from the Indulgent series, 2005; collection SFMOMA, purchases through a gift of an anonymous donor, and gift of CITIZEN:Citizen; photo: Ben Blackwell; © Estate of Tobias Wong and Ju$t another Rich Kid

Tobias Wong, Ballistic Rose, 2004; courtesy CITIZEN:Citizen; photo: courtesy CITIZEN:Citizen; © Estate of Tobias Wong