Alice Jones' Arts Diary: Pharrell chews the fat with Zaha Hadid, Jay-Z, and Buzz the rapping astronaut

 

Hip-hop artist Pharrell Williams has turned interviewer for a new book, Places and Spaces I've Been, published later this month.

Among his subjects are Zaha Hadid, Hans Zimmer and Buzz Aldrin, who talks about Z particles and the time he made a rap record, “The Rocket Experience”, with Snoop Dogg. “I had a couple of people from my supporting team, the girls, to sing the song along with my rapping”, the pioneering astronaut, 82, tells Williams. “We're not going to make an album.”

Elsewhere, Williams chats to Jay-Z about the influence of Kurt Cobain, and to Kanye West. “I am a visual artist,” the rapper tells Williams. “To this day I can't play a piano. I've taken it up a couple times and I forget how to play. When I first wanted to rap, the first thing I did was actually draw my tape covers... before I even thought about doing music.”

“What is it like to look at things and say to yourself, 'I know that they don't get it but maybe one day they will'?” Williams asks West. “Well, I think it's just if you're a perfectionist, that's just what you do… What can you give to human existence? How can you push the culture forward? If you put out things that are so over-the-top and magnificent, what trickles down from it could at least be good because there are more followers than there are leaders.” Hip-hop braggadocio isn't dead yet.

Public pillow talk while Vuitton's staff sleep for art

Staff at Louis Vuitton's London HQ are being asked to sleep on the job – in the name of art. The maverick Scandinavian artist duo Elmgreen and Dragset who put a rocking horse on the Fourth Plinth, installed a an oversized double bed in the New Bond Street shop last month and employees have been clocking in for two-hour naps daily. From next week, the sleepers will also be offered a bedtime story. The actors Russell Tovey and Sarah Solemani, the head of the Serpentine Julia Peyton-Jones and author Tim Lott are among those providing pillow talk. “You're stumbling across a place of sleep. The bedtime stories are meant to be unexpected, a private moment between reader and sleeper. You never know when there might be one happening,” I'm told.

From recording studio to Frieze – a revolution in the art market

It began in a dilapidated recording studio in Primrose Hill three years ago. Now the Museum of Everything is going commercial, with their first selling event at Frieze. Have the original art outsiders now joined the establishment?

“Art fairs are really good opportunities for exhibitions. Curators often deny that the market leads curatorial choice but that really can't be correct”, James Brett, founder of the Museum, tells me. “I learnt early on that the best way to have a revolution is from the inside. The idea is to take a very strong activist position within a commercial environment.” All profits will go towards supporting the Museum's projects, in Moscow, Paris and beyond.

A gallery director with precocious talents

They say you should start kids on culture early but Nicholas Penny took precocious to new levels when he was growing up. The director of the National Gallery first visited his future workplace when he was seven years old.

“I knew quite a few pictures in the National Gallery before I could read”, he tells Frieze Masters magazine. “In fact, I could draw Botticelli's Venus and Mars from memory before I could read or write.” Nobody likes a show-off, Nicholas!

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

    Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

    Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea