IMG_4927Billy Wilder made movies (like Some Like It Hot) and collected modern classical paintings. Pharrell Williams makes songs like “Happy” and collects figurines that could not be called happy. In fact they could be called Surrealist, with all the toil that term invokes. But it’s an odd, frustratingly gloomy Surrealism; and it presses us to figure out why it should be so.

Our first instance might well be called “A Boy and his Dog,” with ironic wallop typical of this art/merchandise. (The show, curated by Williams, from which the material here is drawn, is currently off and running at Toronto’s Design Exchange).

IMG_4981IMG_4982Perhaps a good place to start our brief investigation is the somewhat nurse-inciting artefact, titled, “The Rise of Pain in Dreams.” There seems to be a consensus, amongst the international roster of designers of such provocations, that the very act of longing for, desiring consummate  experience brings with it more or less horrific corruption.

IMG_4988 Corruption like the murderous resentment leading to 9/11.


IMG_4928Here the region of appetite is ominously out of whack with the region of vision. Many, perhaps most, of these figure conjure aspects of the illicit drug trade.

IMG_4984Though the products are steeped in mass-media marketing, they pull the sting on their being conversant with feel-good entertainments. Thus the show’s title is, “This Is Not a Toy.”

IMG_4949Young girls’ decor and demeanor, invoked in a heavy hit of the saccharin and then slipping into a bewildering abrasiveness.

IMG_4932The cartoon motif of friendly little fluffy clouds (also deployed in photo #3) , here turned on its ear. A friendly blood stain?!


The question of appetite for ecstasies comes in for some harsh irony in this package both flashy and fierce.


Why has the act of kinetic play become so grim? (One board is labelled, “Lost.”)


A process of kidnapping with no return to innocence.

 IMG_4935Facile paranoia or a witty recognition that some deft moves, some artistry is called for?

IMG_4938It’s a bit edgy; but a festive tone managed to prevail!!

avantgarde_4This graphic from the 1970s seems to be struck by that distress concerning too much of a good thing, so apparent in Pharrell Williams’ exhibition.

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