A 30-Year Multi-Media Project by Two Bay Area Design Visionaries
We are thrilled to announce a 30-year survey of Gary’s holiday card projects with Tom Bonauro at the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design. The show opens, virtually or in person, February 26th.
Read the announcement here:
Read the press release here:
For 30 years Bay Area designers Gary Hutton and Tom Bonauro collaborated on holiday cards sent to a glittering, international list of clients, friends, and fans of Hutton’s interior design practice. These yearly projects, which the designers refer to as “sculptures-in-a-box”, are best understood as ongoing conceptual art practice. The work engages with, but is not bounded by traditional notions of craft, design, or holiday greetings.
Lifting the curtain on their creative process, this exhibition reveals the yearly projects as both time capsules of events in the public square and abstracted snapshots of Hutton’s recent history. Intended to stun, the work distills Hutton’s personal biography, the Bay Area’s progressive political mood and California’s awesome physical beauty. Embedded with mystery and wintery feeling, the effect is a demanding visual language that conjures better days for the coming year.
The designers reach for timelessness, legacy and shock-of-the-new from both lived experiences and also detached, transpersonal distance. Both Hutton and Bonauro are interested in non-Western aesthetics and Eastern Religion’s search for enlightenment. Buddhist riddles, or koans, have direct parallels in that both engage the mind so change can enter. Complexly layered and insistent, the cards are intentional confrontations. Each year features different, unexpected materials like graphite, aluminum, brushes, or glass. The work explodes the status quo by mixing materials, leavening problematic imagery, and beguiling the way we view communication.
Experimenting with materiality, beauty, and design, these 30 yearly narratives tell a larger story of transformation. Encoded Holidays: Gary Hutton x Tom Bonauro is both a document and a celebration. The show condenses moments in time, advances material innovations, and celebrates graphic design virtuosity—simultaneously managing to be joyful, expressive, and relentlessly new.