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, Bulletproof Quilted Duvet, 2004; collection Josee Lepage; Estate of Tobias Wong
  • Tobias Wong, three gold objects
    Tobias Wong and Ju$t another Rich Kid, Coke Spoon 01, Coke Spoon 02, and Swizzle Stick from the Indulgent series, 2005; Collection SFMOMA, purchases through a gift of an anonymous donor, and gift of CITIZEN:Citizen; Estate of Tobias Wong and Ju$t another Rich Kid; photo: Ben Blackwell
  • Tobias Wong, ballistic rose
    Tobias Wong, Ballistic Rose, 2004; ballistic nylon, metal; Courtesy CITIZEN:Citizen; Estate of Tobias Wong; photo: courtesy CITIZEN:Citizen