Here in Hong Kong, where my family and I live, Ben Brown has a branch of his great London gallery, the Ben Brown Gallery, at the Pedder Building. One of Ben’s goals is for the people of Hong Kong to meet famous artists from around the world so they can appreciate why they are so influential in the West. Recently he exhibited work by Ron Arad, one of the most inspiring designers of our time. (Work by Ron has been exhibited at museums such as the Victoria and Albert in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.) He called his gallery show at Ben Brown ‘Ron Arad in a China Shop.’ Ron’s work is beautiful, thought provoking, humorous,for instance, the ping-pong table exhibited here, made of mirror-polished stainless steel and bronze. Amazing. Ben’s wife, Louisa Guinness, exhibits Ron’s wonderful jewelry in London.
Ron’s work resonates with me. In fact, one of my biggest regrets was the chair that got away! Ten years ago, when I was first married, I bid at Christie’s on a Ron Arad chair that I loved,a big abstract chair made from metal sheets that creaked and moved when you sat in it. I bid and bid but lost out and was very disappointed. I thought of that chair practically daily. Then one day I saw it in the window of Donna Karan’s shop in SoHo in Manhattan and knew who had bought it.
I told this to Ron when I saw him recently. Obviously, Donna, more power to her, had outbid me. Ron well remembered the chair, and continued the story. Several years later he was with his dealer at the Armory Show in New York, the chair was on consignment from its owner. Donna Karan was there, fell in love with the chair, and enthusiastically offered to buy it. The dealer sheepishly reminded her that she already owned it! Everyone had a good laugh over that. Except, well, for me? It is still the chair that got away.