The first time I ever saw one of these large lidded tea boxes by the famous Dutch graphic designer Jacob Jongert was probably at MoMA, but where the design really caught me, was at a collector's home in Los Angeles. She was using it as a side table basically; I loved that repurposing, and set out to find one. When I did finally find one, it wasn’t at a design auction or a high-end shop in Amsterdam, but at an antique mall in rural North Carolina! I did a double take as I nearly tripped over it in a booth full of "Country Chic" doodads. Once I gave it a better look, I was initially bummed when I saw that the top had been punctured with at least 25 pencil diameter sized holes. Then I read the florally written description that was attached to it on a tag and my disappointment turned to delight at the absurd turn of events in this famous modernist object's life: it had last been used as a container for rattlesnakes for a Pentecostal minister who was, you got it, a snake handler! This tickled me, and I shipped it back to New York and sold it to the talented young interior designer Ryan Lawson, who is also originally from the South, as I am. He appreciated it just as much as I did. After I sold that one, I had the idea to find another one and encase in it a plexiglass box, like art collectors do with Andy Warhol Brillo boxes, and make that “City Chic” side table I had originally been inspired by in California. I never got around to it, but you certainly can. I wouldn’t recommend keeping poisonous snakes in it, but apparently it does a pretty good job at that as well!

Curatorial Alchemy

Our paths first crossed, unknown until many years later, at an intimate yet bustling wedding reception in a south Chicago apartment. This was probably 30 years ago, perhaps even the same year a new gallery, Torno Wright, opened at the end of my street to a fanfare of Eames, heralding new changes to come. Criss-crossing breezes of chance encounters, meandering spirits, hazy focus of time and space, of enthusiasm and knowledge sought, now united again in the same city.

That same serendipity, prompting impulse and discovery, guided welcome reward in the crucible of that great industrial city, still littered with the artefacts of the American mid-century. It was within this uneven yet fertile terrain, hidden slightly below surface, that Patrick’s intuitive talent—honed first as photographer then embellished as artist—would treasure the valuable neglected as passionate collector, and then as the inspirational dealer that I was to meet again, years later in New York City.

If asked to select one word to describe Patrick, I would resist and pick two. The first would be curiosity—a fundamental essential, to stimulate inquiry and rigour in all things, both great and small, of any era or region, type or surface. Even the most fleeting survey of this selection for sale is a celebration of innovation and of inspiration—an unerring eye for the unusually exceptional, or perhaps the exceptionally unusual. The chances are, that these are indeed discoveries that you have not yet realized that you needed to make.

Mentor, would be my second word. If artefacts and objects articulate visual, cultural and historic language, then the fluency of skillful mentorship—to guide, nurture, describe and explain—releases the eloquence of murmuring histories. In this capacity Patrick is that most earnest and sincere of excellent narrators. If ever I had friends, clients or colleagues visiting New York looking for unusual inspiration, there was always the certainty that Patrick’s gallery would offer them a glimpse of the hitherto unseen or the unusually seductive, always with the reassurance of the most fascinating story waiting to be told.

Mentorship and curiosity, when balanced in equal measure, reveal the precious alchemy of a curator. And it is the duty of the mature curator to discern and detect, to cultivate change, and from there to pioneer, and to share. Innovation is never static, and the Present is already the Future. Fresh dialogs evolve, energies to be nurtured, opportunities to be guided. Renewed and re-orientated, Patrick now faces fully forward—as benefactor, interlocutor and mentor to a new, inquisitive generation of talented creators, and the quest for discovery rejuvenates.

— Simon Andrews