The Jet-Setting Collector Reveals His Downtime Moments with Iconic Personalities
Steve Jobs kicking back in his Birkenstocks, Diane von Furstenberg sipping a beer in Venice and the private dinners of ‘the supers’ are all uncovered in Jean Pigozzi’s secret stash of photographs. My World is a fly-on-the-wall visual journal from the art lover, collector and entrepreneur, showing at Beijing’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art from next week. “It’s an insight into my life over the last 30 years,” muses Pigozzi, who studied film and photography at Harvard, and whose work features in the permanent collections of MoMA and Centre Pompidou. Curated by Chinese photographer and director Alexi Tan, the 250-snapshot exhibition—that includes the philanthropist's take on this year’s Oscars party—is Pigozzi’s first in China. “Jean's body of work chronicles a certain part of popular—not just celebrity— culture through his own unique background,” says Tan. “And since there has been growing curiosity in China, his photos can give them a different perspective of the world they are so intrigued by.”
What’s the secret to a good party?
Jean Pigozzi: A great residence can help bring interesting people together but the most important thing is to be a fun, generous and caring host—that’s what makes a good party, more than expensive wine or extravagant food.
What memories emerged from looking at your photography archives?
JP: I met Diane [von Furstenberg] in a nightclub in Paris when she was 20 and I was 17. How can you not love being with some of the most beautiful women in the world?
Where do you store your photos?
JP: In nice boxes.
How would you describe your world in three words?
JP: Exciting, always evolving.
What’s on the agenda for your time in Beijing?
JP: Go see contemporary art.
My World runs from March 14 through 24 at Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing.
A Day at the Bon Vivant’s Ettore Sottsass-Designed Pop Paradise
Entrepreneur, art collector, snapshot photographer, and streetwear designer Jean Pigozzi lives large, as filmmaker Matthew Donaldson discovered at Villa Dorane, Pigozzi’s residence-slash-playground in the jetset Cap d’Antibes. The villa is a monumental testament to his long-term collaboration with late Italian architect and designer Ettore Sottsass, who played a significant role in the design of Pigozzi's seven homes. He inherited the house, built in 1953 by neo-classical architect Tomaso Buzzi, from his father Henri–who founded Simca cars–but it was postmodernist Sottsass who “pimped it out.” A member of the Memphis Group, Sottsass’ playful provocations are evident in the clash of off-kilter geometric furnishings and flamboyant colors, accessorized by Baluchi carpets, kitschy ceramics, and giddy light fixtures. “Ettore would say it was boring to have a normal house, you have to change things around all the time. He was not scared of funny colors and funny things,” says Pigozzi. The jubilant décor is enhanced by pieces from Pigozzi’s extensive African art collection, including photographs by Malick Sidibé and an entrance hall hand-painted in bold motifs by Esther Mahlangu with her trademark chicken-feather brush. Around the hall’s perimeter stand four life-size sculptures of notable R&B singers, including Aretha Franklin, by Ivory Coast artist Nicolas Damas—Pigozzi jokingly calls them his “cousins.” Sottsass makes his biggest impact here with the guest quarters, a blocky architectural feat in multiple shades of green paint and even greener balustrades, the interior kitted out with boxy sofas, chairs and beds in hues reminiscent of 80s-era Esprit fashion. Though the pair would collaborate on every aspect of the design, shapes and colors were strictly down to Sottsass. “He was a complete genius [at those],” says Pigozzi. Villa Dorane attracts a steady stream of “friends, venture capitalists and pretty girls” and Pigozzi’s annual Festival de Cannes party is the stuff of legend. “My main idol in life is Howard Hughes,” he says. “I like how he lived all alone with airplanes and girls, but on the other hand I’m a social animal.”
Ryan Gosling Gives An Entertaining Insight Into the Perils of the Hollywood Audition
“The movie business is like the worst girlfriend you’ve ever had,” declares Alec Baldwin, the veteran actor and star of James Toback’s documentary Seduced and Abandoned. “You are seduced and abandoned over and over again.” The hard-hitting Hollywood director returns to Cannes, where he triumphed in 2008 with his documentary on Mike Tyson, and puts the mechanics of the film festival itself under his microscope. In the wry meta-film, The Glengarry Glen Ross star and Toback work La Croisette Boulevard like the undoubted pros they are in a determined attempt to secure funding for "Last Tango in Tikrit," a sexually explicit allegory about post-Iraq disillusion in which Baldwin would take the lead. “Alec and I acted in a scene together in Woody Allen's Alice,” says Toback. “Our scene was cut from the final version but the irrational sense of connection I felt with him, both as a screen presence and as a person, lingered after our brief Woody experience.” The duo quickly discovers why Somerset Maugham described the Riviera as “a sunny place for shady people” but the impressive list of auteurs and actors they interview––including Martin Scorsese, Ryan Gosling and Francis Ford Coppola––are disarmingly candid. “It’s a celebration of film, not so much of the industry,” says Toback. “I have learned that the more movies I make, the more impossible it is to get excited by any film which is not filled with surprises, uncertainty and the daily need for invention.”