Haute Event: Pharrell Williams Celebrates Collaboration With Artist Daniel Arsham

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Pharrell Williams and Daniel Arsham
Pharrell Williams and Daniel Arsham

Last week in New York, Daniel Arsham unveiled his first collaboration with Pharrell Williams at The Standard in the East Village. For this project, Arsham created replicas of Pharrell’s keyboard and drum machine, an instrument important to the prolific musical artist and producer at the genesis of his career in the late 1980’s.

Terry Richardson, CL and Andre Balazs
Terry Richardson, CL and Andre Balazs

Like much of Arsham’s work, which features the seeming petrifaction of contemporary objects, the materials used to recreate the keyboard and drum machine make it seem as though they were detected in a distant future or on an archeological dig. For the project with Williams, Arsham has located, uncovered and recast an original keyboard and drum machine in volcanic ash, rusted steel, crystal, and carbon dust. Through Arsham’s conceptual approach and the object’s physical manifestation, his work presents the viewer with an experience in which time is fluid and malleable. Reinforcing the body of work’s existence as anthropological relics, visitors were able to don protective gloves and manually interact with the now-static instruments.

Miroslava Duma, Pharrell Williams and Nasiba Adilova
Miroslava Duma, Pharrell Williams and Nasiba Adilova

Architecture lies at the core of Arsham’s process, and in recent work, he has combined the use of hard minerals with simple gestures of concept in the object’s form. The recreation of Pharrell’s early musical instruments joins this canon of Arsham’s work wherein he uses natural elements to contextually displace an object from its history. Structural experiment, historical inquiry, and satirical wit come together in Arsham’s ongoing interrogation of the real and the imagined.

About Daniel Arsham
Daniel Arsham was born and raised in Cleveland, OH in 1980. After graduating from Cooper Union in 2003, he received the Gelman Trust fellowship the same year. Regularly collaborating with artists, musicians and designers, Arsham completed a five year long collaboration (2004-2009) with late choreographer Merce Cunningham. In December 2012 Arsham was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Fabric Workshop Museum in Philadelphia. A monograph of his work was published by the French Centre National des Arts Plastiques, and Louis Vuitton recently published a book of his Easter Island paintings. Arsham’s work has been shown at PS1 in New York, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami, The Athens Biennial in Athens, Greece, The New Museum In New York, Mills College Art Museum in Oakland, California and Carré d’Art de Nîmes, France among others. Arsham is represented by Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin in Paris and OHWOW in Los Angeles.

About Pharrell Williams
Redefining innovation for a new generation, Pharrell Williams is a creative force, using music, fashion and design to express his distinctive style. Cited as Billboard’s Producer of the Decade in 2010, he helped create such classics as Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” Jay-Z’s “I Just Wanna Love U (Give it 2 Me)” and Britney Spears’ “I’m A Slave 4 U.” With over 100 million copies of his productions sold, Williams’ unique sound can also be heard as part of the alt-rock/hip-hop group, N.E.R.D. His prolific body of work ranges from designing a sculpture with artist Takashi Murakami to designing jewelry for Louis Vuitton. Now, with his latest venture i am OTHER — a multi-media creative collective that includes Billionaire Boys Club & ICECREAM apparel, textile company Bionic Yarn and a dedicated YouTube channel — Williams’ vision continues to push pop culture forward.

Photo credit: BFA.

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