An Exhibition of 100 Hooks Has Us Totally Rethinking Our Wall-Mounting Game

The humble coat hook might be the most simple and effective design humans ever invented. It solves the problem so well that it’s often taken for granted (as most genius inventions are) and little attention is paid to its ingenuity, because it just works. Well, humble no more — the hook is celebrated in all its weird and wonderful variations in an exhibition called 100 Hooks presented by the estate of American sculptor JB Blunk. A hundred versions — by names like Jasper Morrison and Ilse Crawford as well as young artists and designers from across the US, UK, Europe, Mexico, and Japan — are all designed, at least nominally, for hanging clothing, towels, bags, hats, art, or whatever else needs storing or displaying. 

The exhibition follows Blunk’s 1981 solo show 100 Plates Plus, which was held at David Cole Gallery in Inverness, California. Using the confines of a simple typology, while allowing full creative freedom otherwise, the current hook show is a continuation of this idea, according to Blunk’s daughter and estate director, Mariah Nielson. “The restriction of this one type of object was a chance for him to play around with different modes of expression. And even the essential idea of that form: some of the plates were functional and some were sculptural,” she said.

Similarly, the hooks range wildly from almost prehistoric (Martino Gamper) to industrial (Jon Harrison) to overtly decorative (Ido Yoshimoto) to grotesque (Woody De Othello’s ceramic ear). It’s hard to choose favorites, because they all exude so much individual character, but a few standouts include Grace Sachi Troxell’s upside-down eggplant, Jesse Schlesinger’s simple blue spiral assemblage, Lucy Stark’s floral mise en scène — complete with a candle and matchstick holder — Max Frommeld’s pieces inlaid with wooden circles, Wilkinson and Rivera’s wiggly stick, Peter McDonald’s tiny dollhouse inside a cigarette packet, and a dramatic standing sculpture by Nadia Yaron. The hooks were installed and photographed by Leslie Williamson at the incredible JB Blunk house in Inverness, which is sadly not currently open to visitors. But all 100 can be seen at the Blunk Space gallery in Point Reyes Station until February 11. A sampling of our favorites is below, and a full catalog is available.

TOP PHOTO: Rachel Kaye

Grace Sachi Troxell

Ido Yoshimoto

Woody De Othello

Lucy Stark

Ava Woo Kaufman

Ian Collings

Martino Gamper

Max Frommeld

Wilkinson & Rivera

Rachel Kaye

Shio Kusaka

Studio Ahead

Dave Muller

Simon Lamson

Creative Growth

Erica Toogood

Dan John Anderson

Jesse Schlesinger

Anna Karlin

Leon Ransmeier

Siw Thomas

Fabien Cappello

Windy Chien