In art as in life, it's friends first.

Just Phriends Auction Foreword

Friendship is social exchange for its own sake. It is to rest of the human endeavor what art is to engineering. As technology gets more powerful, so has friendship. Social exchange today has the ability to overcome geographies and genres. Friends, in this equation, are the base unit of a networked society.

Curated by Sarah Andelman, Just Phriends traces a winding series of personal connections that have intersected with the life and times of Pharrell Williams. Many of these connections have changed the way we understand culture today. This auction does not feature “tokens” of these friendships. Rather, it presents cultural artifacts that sprouted from the context of these friendships — from soil fertilized by WiFi, broken bread, and air miles.

Just Phriends spans a global order propelled in equal parts by Luxury Fashion, Contemporary Art and Design, and Hip Hop Music. These cultural flows have come to circumnavigate the world many upon many times over, criss-crossing and splicing to a point where it would be impossible to say what dictates what, or who influences who. Friends are just friends, whether they are collaborating or just working adjacently. And ideas are just ideas, whether they are expressed as a song, a sculpture, or a pair of shorts.

Unlike the “movements” of the 20th century, culture today takes place through an infinite cascade of link-ups. To follow this thread, one must examine the nodes where these connections happen: the gallery, the recording studio, the fashion week, the group chat. Just Phriends celebrates these zones of cross-pollination by making them the subject matter not the side effect.

Friendship has a funny way of eluding history. We tend to look back on provenance and politics much more than on the personal. Aristotle once said that friendship is “a single soul dwelling in two bodies.” If we are to multiply that idea by the dozen of lots in Just Phriends, then the spirit that inhabits this body of work is best understood by the friendships that connect them together. In art as in life, it’s friends first.