The 60-year-old son of a Holocaust survivor turned billionaire banking mogul is convinced that his remix of John Lennon’s “Imagine” can save the world. Ivan Wilzig, aka Sir Ivan, aka Peaceman, aka Mr. Mitzvah, has dedicated his life and a sizable chunk of his family’s vast fortune to convincing literally anyone else.
It was late May, and inside Ivan Wilzig’s Soho pied-à-terre penthouse, even the bricks of his parapet overlooking Houston Street were covered with black-light paint. The interior walls were littered with bright fluorescent murals that recalled Woodstock or Jefferson Airplane or any broad signifier of an acid trip. With the shades drawn, hundreds of flowers, magic mushrooms, marijuana plants, “every type of Ecstasy pill ever made,” and other Summer of Love iconography on the walls took on that alien violet hue.
Across a long hallway, the word “REVOLUTION” dripped with red paint. “It’s to remind us of the blood that was lost and the murder of the four students at Kent State,” Ivan explained.
Paper butterflies, pink, blue, yellow, and magenta, dangled from the ceiling. “They represent the free spirit of the times.”
His entire concrete floor was splattered Pollock-like with all the colors of the black-light spectrum. “It represents the chaos of the Vietnam War.”