Ronald is the founder of a new gallery called The Proposition, which will combine contemporary art with the work of young furniture designers and some fashion (the gallery is located on Extra Place, the famous alley behind CBGB’s).
I heard someone say recently that artists and therefore art is a quest to discover what makes people tick, which would explain the powerful life force that is flowing through Ronald. A fixture on the New York art and fashion scene since 1969, he is an aficianado of almost every cultural force that has beat through this city for the past four decades. Bob Dylan was his neighbor on Bleeker in the 1970s, he had a painting gallery during the early 1980s East Village conceptual art scene of Jeff Koons, he was part of the transformation of art to big business in the 1990s, and today he is responsible for discovering artists such as Mickalene Thomas (who now hangs in MOMA and who he took under his wing when she was homeless). Ronald is one that proves me 100% right that style is the door to an interesting person. His is beyond reproach, in his pink Paul Smith pants, cream Walter Van Beirendonck blazer, cream silk opera scarf, and his ultra-heavy silver signature jewelry, but this is only the outer layer to a life that could fill a book. His treasure-filled apartment is an homage to that life of doing what he does best, discovering artists.
Much like the multiple clothing genres of his past, from folk/hippie to glam rock to punk, everything in his home is an art object with a frame, laying in every concievable nook and cranny, including on the stove (he never cooks). Ronald is so attuned to style as an artform (and thus a representation of yourself) that when he was depressed over leaving NYC in the mid-1980s to open a folk art museum in Pennsylvania, in a moment of despair, he ritually destroyed all of his cutting-edge wardrobe. This painfully included his loads of snakeskin platform boots, leopard coats, antique furs, and collection of nineteenth-century clothing. Featured in the book Idols by Gilles Larrain, he says he was “sort of known as the male Pat Cleveland ” for his seminal taste. I will never forget Ronald’s description of his post-glam early-’80s days, when he wore skinny black cords and white Capezio ballet slippers. Punk doesn’t get more chic.