Ron Ho: A Jeweler's Tale celebrates the life and legacy of renowned Northwest jeweler Ron Ho. When Ho passed away in 2017, he left a treasure trove of his own writings, letters, images, paintings, and objects. The exhibition, which opened at BAM
May 10, collects many of these items, presenting them alongside works from his career and videos that offer a glimpse into Hos life and artistic practice.
Building off of Ho's 2007 retrospective at BAM and the recent Northwest Designer Craftsmen Living Treasures film Ron Ho: Becoming Chinese, A Jeweler's Tale, the exhibition highlights Ho's creative explorations, the deep influence of his heritage, and his masterful ability to tell a story. Selected works from Ho's decades-long career, as well as artifacts from his personal collection, are being displayed alongside drawings and notes from his creative process. Several of these featured works were created in the decade following Hos 2007 retrospective, including the last piece he worked on prior to his passing.
In addition to key works from Ho's career, the exhibition includes a full reconstruction of Ho's studio. Visitors are able to see the books that inspired him, his worn tools and jeweler's bench, the show tunes he listened to while working, and the found art objects from around the world waiting to be used in his next piece.
The exhibition also includes a screening of Ron Ho: Becoming Chinese, A Jeweler's Tale, allowing visitors to hear Ho tell his own life story as well as commentary from his closest friends and mentors.
Ron Ho: A Jeweler's Tale is co-curated by BAMs Executive Director & Chief Curator Benedict Heywood and Nancy Loorem Adams, Vice President and Museum Liaison of Northwest Designer Craftsmen, with the support and guidance of Ron Hos partner, Peter Olsen. The exhibition is co-presented by Bellevue Arts Museum and Northwest Designer Craftsmen.
Ron Ho (19362017) was a jeweler and art educator living in Seattle, WA. Born to traditional Chinese parents, Ho grew up in Hawaii, surrounded by diverse cultures and their unique artistic expressions. His work was influenced and informed by contrasts of American and Chinese culture and by the cultural diversity he encountered living in the Pacific Northwest. By using found objects and materials enriched by cultural associations, his work reflects his search for a cultural sphere from areas as far as China, Thailand, Nepal, and Afghanistan. Ho was the recipient of several distinguished artist and art educator honors. His jewelry is in the collections of numerous private and public collections, including the LA County Museum, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Tacoma Art Museum, and the King County Arts Commission.