The Opening – Tobias Wong at Museum of Vancouver


THE OPENING is all about delving into the fascinating, quirky and wonderful visual arts in Vancouver. Each week we’ll feature an artist, cover an exhibition, discuss a lecture and everything else in-between to delve deep into who and what makes art happen!

Art and design frequently intersect, being that they are both creative fields. It’s not always clear where one begins and the other ends, and this is certainly true of work by the late Tobias Wong, currently on display at the Museum of Vancouver. Wong was originally from Vancouver, but ultimately ended up in New York where he studied sculpture at Cooper Union. He died too young in 2010 at the age of 35, of what the authorities ruled a suicide, though his family suspected the death was related to his severe sleep-walking problem.

Wong was on a steady climb to fame, helped by his use of fancy design objects and notable brands in his work. From his buttons in the Burberry tartan at New York Fashion week in 1999 to a Starck Bubble Chair turned into a lamp in 2001, he capitalized on the notoriety of these names and subverted or altered them in some way. There is little doubt that he would have been someone to watch had his promising career not ended so tragically. His work has previously been exhibited at MoMA, but the MoV exhibition is the most comprehensive show to date.

The opening was PACKED to the rafters, and I ran into both art and design friends and colleagues. It’s definitely an exhibit that will appeal to a wide variety of people with its mixture of everyday objects and humour. They also have a stellar list of programming in conjunction with the exhibition, including a show & tell of his work with family members, a night of creating art inspired by Wong, and (MUST GO TO THIS) an all-day pop-up tattoo parlour on December 8th. All this to say, if you haven’t been to the Museum of Vancouver in a while, I think it’s time to give this oft-overlooked space a visit.