Proving he is one happy man, Pharrell Williams attended the opening of his curatorial debut on May 27 at Galerie Perrotin new space Salle de Bal, with an unfading smile on his face. His outfit was a happy one as well. More happiness was felt by the attending crowd of 1200, who enjoyed artwork made by 32 famous artists of our day dedicated to the supreme concept set by the curating musician – GIRL. The exhibition closed on June 25, but it still echoes in the art circles, since it gathered some of the most interesting interpretations of one of the most favorite themes in the history of art. Other focus of the show was Pharrell himself, immortalized in a broken glass sculpture, paying an homage to his ethereal muse[s].
GIRL as boys see it
Among the works, there were 10 pieces specially commissioned for the exhibition, most of them celebrating Pharrell’s philosophy. Perhaps the most astounding work was a life-size sculpture of Pharrell by Daniel Arsham, executed in the artist’s recognizable medium – broken glass, standing with a symbolic prayer gesture. Placed in the central spot at the exhibition, in between two Japanese dolls by Chiho Aoshima, The Future Pharrell prays and honors the idea of GIRL, the supreme inspirational being for his music and for the art he loves. Pharrell was depicted in a very vivid sofa from Ikea, rendered by the tireless hand of Rob Pruitt, depicting various phases from the musician’s career. Even the latest album, from which the GIRL title inspiration came, was visually conjured in a work by Guy Limone, who outlined the title with small, three-dimensional girl figurines, which, when combined, reach the height of an average French woman. A piece by Mr. honors Pharrell’s musical heritage through manga-like approach, while the Pharell-themed art was crowned by a flat piece by Takashi Murakami. The famous painter depicted Pharrell and his woman dancing, pasted on his signature background of heaps of smiling flowers, marrying the pop and the flat into one memorable work.
GIRL as girls see it
The 16 female artists showed a slightly different approach to the idea of GIRL. From the engaged works of Tracey Emin and Marina Abramovic/Ulay, to the girly and dreamy representations by Aya Takano. Still, the empowering pieces prevailed the female part of the show, as it can be seen through the aesthetized work of Paola Pivi. Mickalene Thomas took the super-girl of all times, Marilyn Monroe, and by canceling her portrait, elevated the significance of a woman into a different realm. The most feminist was the jammed poster by Guerilla Girls, who turned their focus towards the music industry, calling out all the stars who employ naked girls in their videos.
Overall, the curatorial endeavor of Pharrell at the Galerie Perrotin did show some self-indulgent artwork, but it also did depict the general situation in the arts and beyond when it comes to treating feminine thematics, either by glorifying it or by fighting for the female cause.
All photos courtesy of Butterfly.