Simply expensive: Pharrell makes art now

Collaborations can be great and we’re certainly seeing more and more unexpected film/art/fashion/music combinations now. But Pharrell and Takashi Murakami working together is like pop on top of pop with a side order of pop. And that’s exactly what “The Simple Things,” their contribution to Switzerland’s Art Basel, is. The sculpture is typical Murakami cartoony kitsch, plus Pharrell’s contribution: his seven favorite things in life, “the glue to [his] personality” – Doritos, Johnson and Johnson’s baby lotion, a condom, a can of Pepsi, a sneaker, a cupcake, and ketchup, all bedazzled in diamonds (26,000 of them) and gilded in gold.

The fact that the majority of Pharrell’s personality can be purchased at a drug store is beside the point. I know that whether or not you like this sort of thing comes down to a matter of taste and, while trying very hard to do some objective thinking here, it has occurred to me that this could be the Duchamp “Fountain” (that’s the urinal) of a younger generation…but somehow I don’t think so. Then again, maybe I’m judging this piece too quickly. Let’s hear what Pharrell has to say about it:

“The irony and the twist and the poetry of the project is that no matter how good that (the bling) looks to people, for me the taste of cupcakes is worth far more than diamonds.”

Ditto for ketchup and chips.

It turns out many people like their art pimped out.  Twenty minutes after Pharrell blessed the thing (you know, bent over it and prayed for a high return), it sold for $2 million, making it the highest and fastest selling piece at Art Basel.