Pharrell & Daniel Arsham
Pharrell Williams is swiftly moving toward total cultural domination. Is it any surprise, then, that the multi-hyphenated man of the moment has been chosen to inaugurate a new art space in Paris next month? The 41-year-old first met the gallerist Emmanuel Perrotin seven years ago in Miami, and together, Perrotin says, they have been on an art adventure ever since: “meeting artists and visiting studios, brainstorming all along those great moments of artistic synergies and true happiness and friendship.”
So it’s no surprise that Williams was present at the opening of Perrotin’s New York gallery late last year, where he treated Perrotin and friends to an early listen of his album “G I R L.” As one would expect, the tracks made Perrotin happy — a feeling he knew could transcend the record and fill his new art space, Salle De Bal, which opens on May 27 in a former ballroom in the 17th-century Hôtel Du Grand Veneur in the Marais. So he invited Pharrell to collaborate on the inaugural show, also called “G I R L.”
The roughly 40 works that will be on view, some curated and others commissioned, are a celebration of women — and love. And interestingly, more than one artwork focuses on Williams himself: Takashi Murakami painted a portrait of Williams dancing with his wife, Laurent Grasso illustrated a single (“Lost Queen”) from the “G I R L” album and Rob Pruitt took markers to a canvas loveseat, which centers around Williams’ head, topped with his signature Vivienne Westwood hat.
Some of these artists consider themselves friends of Williams, including the artist Brian Donnelly, better known as KAWS, who created an original work for the show and will also design the bottle for the musical icon’s forthcoming fragrance called, you guessed it, Girl. Here, a first look at some of these commissioned masterpieces, along with commentary from the artists about working with Williams. One thing becomes clear: the artist’s ability to inspire knows no bounds.