The lockdown in 2019 forced Daniel Arsham to retool his practice. He returned to easel painting – the medium in which he initially trained – and produced a cycle of spellbinding images, in which the deep past meets a perhaps even deeper future. In these works, his longstanding concern with ruination took on unprecedented gravitas, possibly reflecting the dystopian tenor of the times. At the same time, though, Arsham was allowing himself to just play around. Without access to professional equipment and few materials at hand, he began modeling pieces of furniture in Play-Doh (of which his young sons had a healthy supply), reveling in the material’s immediacy and plasticity. The little forms he sculpted – a wobbly chair with a triangular back, partly inspired by a design by Wendell Castle; seating forms made simply by sticking blobs together; a dining table with more blobs holding up the top – were endearing, insouciant, fresh, direct.
Stone, resin, birch
Arsham was born in 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio. Raised in Miami, Arsham attended The Cooper Union where he received the Gelman Trust Fellowship Award in 2003. Upon graduation, Arsham toured worldwide with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company as the company’s stage designer for over four years—an experience that informed his ongoing synergistic practice. In 2007, he founded the pioneering architecture firm Snarkitecture with partner Alex Mustonen. Collaboration continues to be a key cornerstone of his practice—realizing high-profile projects with music producer Pharrell Williams and designer Hedi Slimane, as well as Dior, Porsche, and Rimowa.
Arsham has participated in numerous major international exhibitions, including at the Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; the HOW Art Museum, Shanghai, and the Moco Museum, Amsterdam. His works are included in the permanent collections of the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL, and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN.
He lives and works in New York, NY.
Beige, Blue, Grey, White
89.0 x 89.0 x 135.0 cm (35.0 x 35.0 x 53.1 in)