Wright to auction design guru Jim Walrod’s collection May 3

Gaetano Pesce, Nobody’s Perfect cabinet, Zerodisegno, Italy, 2002, resin and plastic, 80 w × 20 d × 83.5 h in. (203 × 51 × 212 cm). Estimate: $15,000-$20,000. Wright image

CHICAGO – Wright will present the Collection of Jim Walrod at auction on May 3. Comprised of 250 lots of art, design and objects from the interior designer’s personal collection, the sale is a celebration of a man who was often referred to as a “design guru.” View the fully illustrated catalog and bid on LiveAuctioneers.

James John Walrod (Aug. 25, 1961–Sept. 25, 2017) was a self-taught interior design consultant and collector of rare and unusual art, design and pop culture works. He was considered an expert in the field of mid-century and postmodern design.

Lapo Binazzi, MGM table lamp, UFO, Italy, 1969, enameled steel, 39 w × 9 d × 21.5 h in. (99 × 23 × 55 cm). Estimate: $7,000-$9,000. Wright image

Walrod’s eye was legendary. Mike D of the Beastie Boys called him his “Furniture Pimp” in gratitude of his talents as a designer and in appreciation for the breadth of his knowledge. Clients worldwide—from David Bowie to André Balasz—sought his unparalleled expertise. Although Walrod saw his role as a guide, aiding clients in finding their own distinct eye, it was his unique vision that shaped so many others.

Nicola L., La Femme Commode, Vrej Bashoomian, France, 1969 / 1993, painted birch,
25.5 w × 13 d × 68.75 h in (65 × 33 × 175 cm), number 6 from the edition of 8. Estimate: $7,000-$9,000. Wright image

His career began after a chance meeting with Andy Warhol led Walrod to work as an assistant art director for the Italian for fashion house Fiorucci. There he was introduced to the radical designs of Ettore Sottsass and the Memphis group, as well as the key members of the New York art world.

Ettore Sottsass, Yang vase from the Pop series, model 455, Anthologie Quartett, Italy, 1968 / circa 1985, glazed ceramic, 7 w × 4 d × 7 h in. (18 × 10 × 18 cm). Estimate: $2,000-
$3,000. Wright image

In 1987, Walrod entered the New York art scene with his first gallery on Lafayette Street. He opened Form & Function in 1998, which became a mainstay for those looking for expertly curated vintage design. He remained true to his unique vision throughout his career, later lending his expertise as an interior designer, adviser and curator. With exhibitions at R & Company and Patrick Parrish gallery, Walrod shared his collecting vision with an even wider audience.

As an interior designer, Walrod shaped the looks of places like the Gild Hall hotel in New York’s financial district and the Thompson LES hotel on the Lower East Side. At times, he was a dealer in the kinds of furniture and art objects that ended up in homes of celebrities.

Barry McGee, Untitled, circa 2015, acrylic on panel, 78.5 in. × 58 in. (199 × 147 cm), inscribed to verso of one panel: ‘Jim.’ This work is comprised of 27 individual paintings. Sold with artist’s hand-written assembly instructions. Estimate: $30,000-$50,000.
Wright image

Walrod was also a collector and champion of contemporary artists. He was a self-taught architectural historian, critic, activist and aficionado of pop culture.

Jim Walrod died on Sept. 25 of natural causes at his apartment in Chinatown. He was 56.