Category: Collecting

Part III: Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams is an American singer-rapper-songwriter-record producer, equally known for his Grammy Awards as he is for his stint as a judge on The Voice. Perhaps not surprisingly, Pharrell is also an entrepreneur and fashion designer who owns a multi-media creative collective, called  i am Other, an umbrella company for his fashion and art endeavors.

Pharrell’s Rollicking Idealist tendencies and artistic creativity have lead to a number of collaborations. He’s created jewelry for Louis Vuitton, collaborated on an Art Basel-showcased piece with Takashi Murakami, and designed furniture alongside Domeau & Pérès. Most recently, Pharrell partnered with adidas to create the Pharrell Williams Hu NMD Shoes, where a pair will easily set you back a couple thousand dollars (on the second-hand market, mind you).

He also happens to own a museum-worthy collection of contemporary sculptures, paintings, and statues that would make any Pop Art admirer’s heart skip a beat! Hardly the passive collector, Pharrell has partnered with some of the most sought after contemporary artists of our time, and in July 2019, he even curated an exhibit at the Guimet National Museum of Asian Arts in Paris, entitled Carte blanche to Mr. and Pharrell Williams: A Call To Action.

I don’t buy anything that’s not meaningful. You have to surround yourself with things that have a purpose and a clear function.

Pharrell Williams

Who is he collecting?
Takahi Murakami

Takahi Murakami

``Flower Ball``

Among the biggest names in contemporary art, Murakami’s distinctive style speaks to all Rollicking Idealists, and “Flower Ball” highlights his distinctive style: kaleidoscopic color, repeated motifs and flattened representational picture plane.

Daniel Arsham

Daniel Arsham

``Future Pharrell``

Daniel Arsham created a life size sculpture of Pharrell for the G I R L exhibition at Galerie Perrotin. One of ten works commissioned for the show, the process required Arsham to create a full body cast of Pharrell before dousing it in 200 pounds of shattered glass.

Daniel Arsham

Daniel Arsham

``CASIO MT-500``

Part of a larger ongoing series Daniel Arsham transforms Pharrell’s “CASIO MT-500” into a decaying monochromatic, archeological discovery from a future, dystopian world.  The MT-500 keyboards were modeled in the forms out of geological materials: volcanic ash, crystal, and steel.

KAWS

KAWS

``White Chum``

Brian Donnelly, the ex-Disney illustrator better known as KAWS, created his first vinyl toy in 1999: an eight-inch “Companion” whose round belly, noodly limbs, and white gloves immediately reminded viewers of the cartoons made famous by his former workplace.

Pharrell & French design duo Domeau & Pérès

Pharrell & French design duo Domeau & Pérès

``Perspective Chair`` (2008)

As part of the Perspective Series, Pharrell and French design duo Domeau & Pérès collaborated on the Perspective Chair. It was produced in four colors: red, black, teal and yellow, and exhibited at Paris’s Galerie Perrotin in 2008.

Art Trivia
  • Williams owns over 700 Art Toys which were displayed in This is not a toy exhibit at Design Exchange Toronto
  • To celebrate the release of his second solo album G I R L, and the opening of Galerie Perrotin’s new space, Pharrell and Perrotin brought together 48 works from leading contemporary artists including: Tracey Emin, Yoko Ono, Takashi Murakami and JR 
  • Artist and sculptor Daniel Arsham created a life -sized sculpture of Pharrell for the G I R L exhibition at Galerie Perrotin. One of ten works commissioned for the show, the process required Arsham to create a full body cast of Pharrell before filling the mold with 200 pounds of shattered glass to form Pharrell’s figure
Posted on February 13, 2020

Lists, Lists, and More Lists

It’s inescapable! No matter where you turn this time of year, you are inundated by Lists: Personal Lists, Best and Worst Lists, and obviously, my personal favorite, Art Lists

For much of its existence, the ARTnews Top 200 List has been comprised of a rather small and rarefied group of collectors whose names were a mixture of well known titans of industry and old money, none of whom have ever encountered an Impressionist or Post-Impressionist work he or she didn’t like.

Now 30 years old, this year’s list marks a clear shift in not only in who is doing the collecting, but what is being collecting.

Collectors across the board are looking for something new that is also of great quality—in concert with what’s happening curatorially in museums and in scholarly gallery shows.” The result is “shifting the conversation away from simply dead white men to artists of color and women.”

Sara Friedlander, Christie’s head of postwar and contemporary art

The art world of 2019 is hard to miss, thanks in large part to an ‘openness’ that didn’t exist 30, 20, even 10  years ago. Amongst the driving forces to accessibility are the increasing importance of social media as a means of discovery, new methods of ownership, growing popularity of art fairs, and greater access to information and art market insights. 

Here are a few highlights from this year’s list:

Pamela J. Joyner and Alfred J. Giuffrida

African-American abstract art; Art of the African diaspora; Contemporary South African art

Pamela Joyner is on a mission to change the face of modern art as we know it, and she is succeeding! Joyner, who, like many, started buying art out of a need to fill blank walls, has become one of the most important voices in the art world. By focusing underrepresented artists of African descent, Joyner and her husband have built one of the world’s leading collections of fine art from the African Diaspora. 

Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean and Alicia Keys

Contemporary art, with a focus on artists of color

Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean has been experimenting with ways for artists to find buyers for their work without interference from intermediaries, by way of what he calls, No Commission art fairs. He’s behind an app called Sm(art) Collection to allow direct sales.

When Sean “Diddy” Combs snapped up a Kerry James Marshall at Sotheby’s New York for a record-setting $21.1 million in 2018, it was Dean who steered him toward the work. “It took me 10 years for that to happen,” he told ARTnews in a 2019 profile, discussing the time it took to get Diddy interested in Black art. “I was like, ‘This Kerry James Marshall has to stay in the culture.’”

Adrian Cheng

Contemporary Chinese art; International contemporary art

Adrian Cheng believes firmly in two things: first, that art is for the masses, and second, that the masses are likely, at one time or another, to go to the mall. In his K11 Art Malls, which he calls a “new museum model,” Cheng has placed art at their center: retail shopping on the main floors provides both the financial support and the audience for the art displayed in the basement. 

Cheng wants to generally educate the public about art,  but he specifically wants to raise the visibility of Chinese contemporary art. “I think the new contemporary Chinese art is reinventing Chinese cultural identity and building up a new Chinese culture,” Cheng told ARTnews in 2014.

Posted on December 18, 2019

Part II: Leonardo DiCaprio

Are we really surprised that Leonardo DiCaprio has developed into one of the world’s most prolific art collectors?  He was, after all, named for one of the most famous artists in the world. According to DiCaprio, the actor’s pregnant mother was standing in front of a Da Vinci painting at the Uffizi when he began kicking furiously, and taking this gesture as a sign, she decided to name him Leonardo. Art seems to have been a childhood staple for the actor; in an article for Rolling Stone, he was asked to describe one of his earliest memories, and DiCaprio recalled a painting that hung above his crib: Hieronymous Bosch’s infamous “Garden of Earthly Delights,” which depicts Eden being squandered away by man. “You literally see Adam and Eve being given paradise,” DiCaprio says. “Then you see in the middle [of the triptych] this overpopulation and excess … then the last panel is just a burnt-down apocalypse. That was my favorite painting.” The natural-history museum was also a staple of DiCaprio’s childhood, and he has since accumulated an important collection of fossils in his home, mostly predatory dinosaurs.

Over the years, DiCaprio has found ways to marry his passion for art with his crusade to save the world from climate change. According to ArtNews, in 2013 he orchestrated a charity auction at Christie’s, entitled “The 11th Hour Sale,” to benefit environmental causes. His own Andreas Gursky satellite image of Earth, Ocean V, was auctioned. In total, the auction raised $38 million in one night and set new sales records for 13 artists, with all proceeds benefiting global conservation projects.

Who is he collecting?

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Salvador Dali

Takashi Murakami

Oscar Murillo

Pablo Picasso

Jean-Pierre Roy

Ed Ruscha

Frank Stella

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat

``Untitled`` (Boxing Ring) (1981). Source: www.acquavellagalleries.com

Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami

``Mononoke`` (2013). Source: https://www.christies.com

Jean-Pierre Roy

Jean-Pierre Roy

``Nachlass`` (2015). Source: The Creators Project.

Art Trivia
  • Estimated value of art collection: $10 million
  • In 2017, DiCaprio voluntarily handed over to US authorities a $3.2 million Pablo Picasso painting and a $9 million Jean-Michel Basquiat collage
  • According to reports, the works were gifted to DiCaprio, but now appear to be part of an embezzlement scandal connected to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad fund (also known as 1MDB), founded by the country’s prime minister, Najib Razak
Posted on November 7, 2019

Part I: Beyoncé & Jay-Z

“What I find in the artwork of Jean Michel Basquiat, I search for everyday in music. His art is musical, his broad strokes, he is lyrical and raw. Thank you for your life’s work JMB.” – Beyoncé

“I just want a Picasso in my casa, no, my castle.” – Jay-Z (lyrics from Picasso Baby)

 

Like many couples, Jay-Z and Beyoncé don’t always agree on what to hang over the sofa. According to a  Rolling Stone interview, Jay-Z purchased a Laurie Simmons photograph featuring “a noirishly lit pistol with a pair of women’s legs emerging from the handle”. His, wife, Beyoncé, promptly sent it back and  replaced it with a different piece by the artist, choosing a perfume bottle instead of a gun. After all happy wife, happy life!

Who are they collecting?

Damien Hirst

Andy Warhol

Richard Prince

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Pablo Picasso

David Hammons

Laurie Simmons

Laurie Simmons

Laurie Simmons

``Walking Gun`` (1991). Source: www.theartstory.org/artist-simmons-laurie-artworks.htm

Damien Hirst

Damien Hirst

``Cineole`` (2004). Source: https://www.moma.co.uk/buy/damien-hirst-prints/

Art Trivia
  • Estimated collection valued at $33 Million
  • Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” was “inspired by” video/installation artist Pipilotti Rist (Ever is Over All), arguably out-right stolen
  • Not only does Jay-Z name-drop famous modern and contemporary artists in his songs, but he also has artists design his album covers and features their work in his music videos
  • The couple paid $4.5 million for a 1985 Basquiat entitled Mecca
  • The power couple’s 2018 “Apes**t” video was filmed at the Louvre among the museum’s masterpieces and garnered some criticism for equating their personality with iconic art.

Ever is Over All

Apes**t

Posted on October 18, 2019

Who Really Collects Art: An Introduction to the Series

This series offers a peak into the vast, wide, and surprising world of the Art Collector. Big Bucks Collectors, Small Bucks Collectors, those who collect literally big and literally small pieces, every collector has a curiosity in art, and those curiosities are curious to us, too! We present to you the intriguing stories of art collectors about the world, and what their collections convey to the outside. Happy voyeur-ing!

Posted on October 18, 2019