Jim Walrod

Jim Walrod. Photo courtesy of R&Company.

Design guru Jim Walrod has made a career out of liking the things other people tend to revile—and then convincing them to appreciate their importance, if not their beauty. Examples of such hard-to-love items, including a Frank Gehry corrugated cardboard club chair and Masanori Umeda’s Tawaraya boxing ring for Memphis are on view as part of “Difficult,” an exhibition Walrod curated at R&Company in Tribeca. “A house shouldn’t be a place where you just lie down on something pretty,” insists Walrod, who in fact shares his Chinatown apartment with several of the pieces in the show. Walrod admits to stashing the suggestive Ettore Sottsass Shiva Vase in a closet whenever he has a date over, but if you ask me, it’s the Robert Venturi Chippendale chair for Knoll with its Grandmother’s Tablecloth floral pattern that is more likely to raise an eyebrow. Walrod himself took some time to warm up to this particular icon of postmodernist design — he now owns two.

“Difficult” is on view at R&Company, 82 Franklin Street, NYC, through October 29.