I was always on the fringe of everything I did.

Robert Loughlin

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
andrewsartadvisory.com

Robert Loughlin 1949–2011

Robert Loughlin was a beloved artist and character in the world of design. Born in Alameda, California in 1949, his interest in design flourished at a young age. By the late 1970s, he had opened two stores in San Francisco, being one of the first "pickers" to specialize and create a resale market for mid-century design. In 1980, he relocated to Miami Beach, Florida where he established a third store and also began painting.

After several years, he moved to New York City and opened the Executive Gallery and became immersed in the downtown art scene. He became known for his boisterous, hard-living as much as his design skills; he sourced art and furniture for clients such as Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Robert Mapplethorpe. One of his most impressive finds was a Salvador Dali painting at a thrift shop that he bought for $40. During this time, his iconic imagery of "The Brute," a smoking square-jawed male figure, began appearing all over the city — on found objects including doors, tables, antiques, trash, bottles, skateboards, other works of art, and public spaces alike. "The Brute," an idealized male face, often depicted smoking, recalls the classic, masculine faces of James Dean and Marlon Brando, and is modeled after Loughlin's partner of thirty-one years, Gary Carlson. Loughlin explored the far reaches of this singular imagery, which has since become an icon of gay and outsider culture.

His artworks are collected by institutions such as The Carnegie Museum of Art and among personal collections including the artist Donald Baechler. Tragically, Robert Loughlin was struck by a car near his home in New Jersey in 2011.

Learn More

Upcoming Lots Robert Loughlin

Auction Results Robert Loughlin