A Tribute to the Mercurial Tobias Wong

Nine designers in New York are sharing newly created work at the Gallery R’Pure at 3 East 19th Street, in tribute to Tobias Wong, who The New York Times said wanted to be the next Duchamp.

The show takes place a year after the death of the young and mecurial artist.

“He was a very dear friend and an amazing artist,” said Dror Benshetrit, one of the nine who created the art on display specifically in memory of Wong.  “Each of us did something that was inspired by him.  It brings us, as friends and as a design community, together.”

The show opened a few days ago, timed for the start of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, which runs today through May 22.  The exhibit closes on Friday night, May 20.

“I met Tobi when he asked me to participate in a show at Saarinen’s Terminal 5 at JFK Airport, back in 2003 or 2004,” Benshetrit said.  “I was excited about, and honored and fortunate to be included.”

Wong, whose unexpected death shocked the design community last May, was known for his medical capsules loaded with silver, his gold-plated McDonald’s coffee stirrers and his Tiffany pearl earrings dipped in black rubber and sold in blue Tiffany boxes.

He called his studio BrokenOff; the name of the Gallery R’Pure exhibit honoring him is called BrokenOffBrokenOff.

“I decided, because this is all about the breakage of a very harsh experience, to break a vase,” Benshetrit said.  “When I started breaking it – not in a brutal way by smashing it, but carefully with a hammer – two beautiful pieces, one male and one female, formed.  Each complemented the other.”

He placed the two on a slab of wood, painted it black, and lit candles inside of each.  He calls the piece “Phases of Phases.”

For more on the exhibit, go to http://www.brokenoffbrokenoff.com/

For more on Tobias Wong, go to http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/27/fashion/27Wong.html?pagewanted=1

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