To say that Pharrell Williams had a good summer would the understatement of understatements. He produced not one, but two MEGA-hits: Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and Daft Punk's "Get Lucky." At age 40, in addition to achieving musical super stardom, he's also become a master student in, and arbiter of, contemporary design culture. He's branched out into furniture (customizing chairs in collaboration with Domeau & Pérès), fashion (Billionaire Boys Club), sculpture (with Takashi Murakami), publishing (Pharrell: Places and Spaces I've Been) and art, which is where our worlds collided Wednesday evening at The Standard, East Village. He was there celebrating his most recent collaboration, and was nice enough to give us a comment, although it came with something of a disclaimer.
Daniel Arsham x Pharrell Williams
"I haaaaatttttttteeeeee press, 'cause I suck at talking about myself," he began, emphatically. "My answers are always super fucking boring. This dude ... he's a super genius." The dude to which he was referring was artist Daniel Ashram, who re-cast Pharrell's childhood Casio keyboard out of volcanic ash, rusted steel, crystal, and carbon dust. Very soon, we'll have a lot more to talk about with Mr. Arsham, as he was kind enough to do a site-specific installation in our still-renovating hotel, but until then, back to Pharrell.
We wanted to know what guides his art collecting. "I think it's a matter of pure distinction and who you are as a person," he explained. "Like the way you get dressed everyday — you're gonna choose what you choose based on how you feel and where you're going. That's all a prerequisite. Collecting serious art I imagine would be the same thing. I'm not the biggest collector in the world. In fact, I'm probably the novice in the room. I've been listening and learning for ten years. If there's someone I really admire, though, it's Emmanuel Perrotin. He's been a mentor and a teacher. But I haaaaate talking about myself."