The album, the stadium tour, the poster, the fragrance, the t-shirt, the tea-towel, the Sunday supplement interview, the doll, the chat show appearance. Just when you thought there were no cross-promotional stunts left to pull in the name of accumulating wealth through music, the master does it again. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Pharrell Williams and his curated exhibition G I R L, organised to mark the release of his album (of the same name, by pure co-incidence).
But wait, you haters. This is absolutely not just about boosting record sales by another few million. Oh no. This is an artistic enterprise which stands alone. It’s all happening at proper serious art purveyors Galerie Perrotin‘s new exhibition space at the Hôtel du Grand Veneur in Paris, and sees the resumption of a relationship between Williams and Emmanuel Perrotin which began with a commission for the music mogul to design two chairs in 2007. Calculated as something of a riposte to allegations of sexism surrounding Blurred Lines, Williams was at pains to ensure a strong female representation in the exhibition in terms of both artists and subjects. Sorry pal, but you can’t un-ring that bell.
Widely known for his close relationships with some of the art world elite, G I R L (did we mention the album is on sale now from all good music stores?) actual carries some heavyweight clout, amidst occasionally uncomfortable bouts of narcissism: Rob Pruitt’s Studio Loveseat (Pharrell) and Takashi Murakami’s Portrait of Pharrell and Helen – Dance (featuring a photograph by Terry Richardson, sigh) key examples. Highlights come courtesy of Daniel Arsham’s shattered glass PW repica, The Future Pharrell, and French street artist JR’s NYC Ballet Art Series, Paper Interactions #13. Runs until 25 June.