Main | Friday, June 04, 2010

NEW YORK: Conceptual Artist Tobias Wong Commits Suicide At Age 35

Openly gay conceptual artist and notorious art prankster Tobi Wong committed suicide on Sunday in Manhattan. He was 35.
Mr. Wong first came to the attention of the design press in 2001 when he turned a Philippe Starck Bubble Club chair into a lamp, softly glowing from within. Adding spice to the stunt, “This Is a Lamp” was shown the night before the actual Starck chair was presented to the public for the first time. A provocateur by nature, Mr. Wong operated at the fringes of the traditional design world, creating objects like a stack of 100 $1 bills, bound in peelable glue like a notepad; a gold-plated McDonalds coffee stirrer (a riff on the company’s plastic version that was apparently popular among drug users before being withdrawn); and an engagement ring with the diamond mounted upside down, so that the wearer could use it to scratch graffiti. “As time went on his work became more and more ironic, sarcastic and pointed,” said Paola Antonelli, senior curator in the Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Architecture and Design. “He had an enfant terrible style of design that was very fresh in New York. Today you see all sorts of people doing conceptual design, but he was one of the first.”
You can find a collection of Wong's most famous pieces here.

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