Daniel Arsham

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2008

2007

201

2013

*The World According to Daniel Arsham by Jeff Rian*

In gouaches, sculptures, and conceptual objects Miami-bred artist, Daniel Arsham, synthesizes a future civilization, symbolized by its architecture, where a cold, entropic beauty empowers nature over culture, something like J.G. Ballard’s crystalline worlds, but where people’s lives can only be guessed at or wondered about from afar.

Meticulously painted, gouaches on Mylar recall modernist architectural drawings. White buildings, encrusted in saline icebergs, float in night seas, as in The M-House got lost and found itself floating in the sea, affecting salination [sic] levels in the North Atlantic, 2004. In his series, The Return, 2005, shards of staircases, piles of rectangular blocks, or rectilinear posts emerge like ghosts from leafy, green-blue overgrowth, as if a former catastrophe had subsided over the ages into a fragmented but purer world.

Chalk-white resin and cut-marble sculptures, and assembled models detail his highly aesthetic, hypothetical dystopia. Their style combines elements from organic art nouveau, F. L. Wright’s architectural drawings, art deco façades, surrealist dreamscapes, minimalism’s iconic transformation of building supplies, pop art’s combines and collages of pictures, and of course everything information technology can offer. Black and translucent paper and blue-plastic drop cloths are cut and layered into art nouveau panels. Sections of modernist buildings are encrusted in floating islands of white made in resin. Resin stalagmites and stalactites grow out of the ceiling and floor. Negative incisions are roundly cut into wall corners, as if eaten into them. In Pinch, 2003, miniature escalators climb to nowhere; in Regret, from the same year, a table-size parking terrace is built in the shape of its title; a So-Cal Schindler bungalow is modeled from Sheetrock and aluminum support studs; a truncated art deco cinema marquee falls over stalagmite heaps.

Modernism resides in these works like a ghost from an ancient history; its architecture is frozen in time. Modernism’s offspring, expressionism, pop, minimalism, and conceptual art—whose very names summon obsessions with psychological gesture, the commercially new, the objectively serious, and the conceptually imagined—have aged. Yet they convey the evolutionary code for his namelessly contemporary architectural mutations, his mixing of media and materials, and his visual drama, which is more like cinema or TV than modernist objects’ and their strict specificity.

Arsham’s stylistic multi-directionality might even seem erratic in modernist terms, and too historically divergent from pop, minimalism, and conceptual art. At the very least he presents warier edifices than, say, Gordon Matta-Clark’s Freudian cuttings. And his objects are far more estranged from human contact than, say, John McCracken’s planks and monoliths, which evoke an ethereal, extra-worldly intelligence, not an entire arbitrary world. But a different precedent is also offered in these vaster projected, post-postmodern, movie objects, and the cosmos they inhabit—where cosmic nature reigns supreme over Earth and us.

 

The blue-green world could also be viewed as a projection of progress following cataclysm. Modern art lost its renascent vigor in catastrophic wars. Artists turned psychologically inward as a result. Expressionists searched for art’s specially coded subject matter in its materials and their gestures. Pop art grew out of a postwar domestic economy that had turned nationalist politics into global commerce, antiquated the folk, and invented the nameless masses. The world became increasingly crowded and expensive. Apocalypse was envisioned in material obliteration and nuclear winter. Natural disorder increasingly threatened, the atmosphere became ill. But art proliferated by diffusing into the media like probes on missions in space.

In F. L. Wright’s amber-tinted architectural drawings, structures preside over the natural environments they respect. Ashram imbues his worldview with a futuristic aesthetic of a post-cataclysmic calm, a watery cosmos adrift from history. At the same time, the style represents decisions made in terms of art’s necessary adaptation.

The gouaches reminded me of Miles Davis’s ballad, “Blue in Green,” from his landmark 1959 recording, Kind of Blue, where mode replaced melody and the improvisations were based on color-like modulations. The ballad turns around bluesy dominant and softer, “greener,” melodic-minor modes, speeding up during the improvisation, but never managing the standard turn-around ending. Its ending was forced. Ashram’s gouaches and objects exhibit an odd precariousness, something like Davis’s ballad, where means don’t imply ends because of a stylistic decision and a change of attitude. Ashram’s modal adaptation seems, to me, based on modal aesthetics and different blends of familiar information, such as uninhabited architecture set in shades of white, blue, black, and green. Modern and postmodern art retained authority over objects and images through established stylistic affinities. In pop, minimalism, conceptual, and even land art, a world outlook was based on such a relationship to objects and to nature, which was referred to as the sublime, and which entwined power and beauty in an aesthetic of objective disinterestedness. Even wary scientific modernists like Robert Smithson, who wanted to recover ravaged industrial parks, held onto a modernist view of the specificity of objects, but with a more remote sense of time and history.

In Arsham’s strangely beautiful, hypothetical world objects have lost their physical domination, but not their aesthetic power. The guts and visceral engines of industry are imagined away, buried in his aesthetic transmutation. Remaining is a resplendent stylistic modality and a beautifully forced end to be contemplated. Daniel Arsham is represented by Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin Miami/ Paris. He has taken part in a number of well-received group and solo-expositions in the States and in Europe. His work has been included in a range of high-profile collections such as that of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami and the LVMH Collection and he has collaborated with visionaries such as Merce Cunningham and Hedi Slimane.

Born in 1980 in Cleveland Ohio, OH
Lives and works in New York, NY

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2015
Special Project, Watermill Center, Watermill, NY
Remember the Future, Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH
Curtain, performance in collaboration with Jonah Bokaer, PAMM Miami, FL
Why Patterns, set design and performance, in collaboration with Jonah Bokaer & Snarkitecture, Ferst
Center of the Arts, Atlanta GA
A Special Project for Leica, Leica Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2014
Special Project, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London, UK
Welcome to the Future, Locust Projects, Miami, FL
Kick the Tires and Light the Fires, OhWow Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Volcanic Ash, Rusted Steel, Baro Galeria, Sao Paulo, Brazil

2013
RECOLLECTIONS, Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London, UK
TOMORROWPAST, Ron Mandos Gallery, Amsterdam
FUTUREARCHIVE, Galerie Perrotin, Hong-Kong
YESTERDAYSFUTURES (Part I), Espace Louis Vuitton Singapore, Louis Vuitton Island Maison, Marina
Bay Sands
YESTERDAYSFUTURES (Part II), SOTA ,Singapore Biennale

2012
Reach Ruin, The Fabric Workshop Museum, Philadelphia, PA
Storm, Galerie Perrotin, Paris, France
Drift, Design Miami Commission, Miami, FL. In collaboration with Snarkitecture.
Set design for Curtain, a dance collaboration between Jonah Bokaer and David Hallberg, Festival
d’Avignon, Sujets a Vif, Avignon, France
the fall, the ball, and the wall, OhWow Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Commemorative Marker, Marlins Ballpark, Miami, FL. In collaboration with Snarkitecture.

2011
Set design for Merce Cunningham Dance Company's last performances, Park Avenue Armory, New York,
NY
DIG, in collaboration with OhWow and Galerie Perrotin, Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York, NY
 2010
Alter, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Miami, FL
Animal Architecture, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France
Avalanche, set design for Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s performances, Adrienne Arsht Center,
Miami, FL
 2009
Set design for Merce Cunningham Dance Company's Performances, Paris, France

2008
Beacon/Miami at Bank of America Tower, Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL
The Undoing, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Miami, FL
Playground, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France
Something Light, Ron Mandos Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands

2007
Playground, Gertrude Street, Melbourne, Australia
Merce Cunningham: Dancing on the Cutting Edge Part II, MOCA at Goldman Warehouse, Miami, FL
eyeSpace, in collaboration with Merce Cunningham, The Miami Performing Arts Center, FL

2006
Building Schmuilding, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Miami, FL
Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin’s booth, Frieze Art Fair, London, UK
 2005
Homesick, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France

GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2014
Post-Pop: East Meets West, Saatchi Gallery, London UK
Resonance(s), Maison Particuliere, Brussels
Shattered: Contemporary Sculpture in Glass, Frederik Meijer, Gardens and Sculpture Park, MI
Creation contemporaine a New York, Musee d’Art Moderne, Saint Etienne, France

2013
Homebodies, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

2012
Next Wave Art, curated by David Harper, Brooklyn Academy of Music, NY
Curtain, performance in collaboration with Jonah Bokaer, Festival d’Avignon, France
Curtain, performance in collaboration with Jonah Bokaer, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, MA
I’m Over Here Now, Richmond Center for the Visual Arts, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
Célébrations, Rêve de nature, Musée de Valence hors les murs, Valence, France
I'm Over Here Now, Richmond Center for the Visual Arts, Kalamazoo, MI
RECESS / Why Patterns, performance in collaboration with Jonah Bokaer & Snarkitecture, Adrienne
Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami, FL
Légèreté?, Maison Particuliere, Brussels

2011
RECESS/ Why Patterns, set design and performance, in collaboration with Jonah Bokaer &
Snarkitecture, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, MA
It Ain’t Fair: Materialism, OHWOW, Miami, FL
Flash: Light, Festival of Ideas for the New City, New Museum, New York, NY
The Past is a Grotesque Animal, In Extenso, Clermont-Ferrand, France
Solo show on the booth of Ron Mandos Gallery, Armory Show, New York, NY

2010
Look Again, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), Winston Salem, NC
The Maginot Line, David Castillo Gallery, Miami, FL
It Ain't Fair 2010, OhWow Gallery, Miami, FL
Memories of the Future, Sean Kelly Gallery, New York, NY
REPLICA, set design and performance, MoCA, FL
REPLICA, set design and performance, Musee d’Art Contemporain, Marseilles, France
REPLICA, set design and performance, Hellenic Festival, Athens, Greece
Why Patterns, set design in collaboration with Snarkitecture, Rotterdamse Shouwberg, Rotterdam, Netherlands

2009
Projections, Carré d'art de Nîmes, Nîmes, France
Heaven, 2nd Athens Biennale, Athens, Greece
Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture, curated by Jessica Hough & Monica R.
Montagut, Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, CA
On From Here, Guild and Greyshkul, New York, NY
Luna Park, Alejandra von Hartz Gallery, Miami, FL
Quand je serais grand, Galerie Jeanroch Dard, Paris, France
Wall Erosion Arch, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin’s booth, FIAC, Paris, France
REPLICA, set design and performance, at IVAM in Frontiers of Time, curated by Bob Wilson, Valencia,
Spain
REPLICA, set design and performance, New Museum, New York, NY

2008
The Fireplace Project, East Hampton, NY
Thoughts on Democracy: Reintereriting Norman Rockwell's 'Four Freedoms' Posters, The Wolfsonian-
FIU, Miami Beach, FL
Reunion, The Fireplace Project, East Hampton, NY
Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture, curated by Jessica Hough & Monica R.
Montagut, Yale School for Architecture Gallery, New Haven, CT
Painting the Glass House: Artists Revisit Modern Architecture, curated by Jessica Hough & Monica R.
Montagut, The Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, CT

2007
Guild, curated by Daniel Arsham, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Miami, FL

2006
The Museum Of Glass, Seattle, WA
Miami in Transition, Miami Art Museum, FL

2005
Greater New York, P.S.1 Museum of Contemporary Art, Long Island, NY
Wanderlust, Julia Friedman Gallery, New York, NY

2004
Miami Nice, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, France
In Advance of a Broken Heart, (As part of SALT), The Wolfsonian Museum, Miami, FL
Obituary , Placemaker, Miami, FL
In Situ, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL
Ten Times the Space Between Night and Day, Guild and Greyshkul, New York, NY
I am the Resurrection, Locust Projects, Miami, FL
Remote Control, M&M Proyectos, San Juan, Puerto Rico

2003
Ever, Placemaker, Miami, FL
Customized, Rocket Projects, Miami, FL
Untitled, (A Sentimental Education), Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FL
Kiss Me Quick Before I Change my Mind, The House, Miami, FL

2002
Meta, The House, Miami, FL
NO SHOW, Fredric Snitzer Gallery, Coral Gables, FL
15/Caliber, Barbara Gillman Gallery, Miami, FL
Miami in Manhattan, Wooster Projects, New York, NY

2001
The House at MoCA, curated by Bonnie Clearwater, MoCA, Miami FL
The Sears Building, curated by Robert Chambers, The House, Miami, FL
Special Projects, Art in General, New York, NY
Time in Space, The House, Miami, FL

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS

Walker Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN
Centre Pompidou, France
Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, FL
Louis Vuitton Collection, France
The Four Seasons Miami Collection, FL

LECTURES

2015
Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, OH
 2014
Breakfast in the Park, Frost Art Museum, Miami, FL

AWARDS

2003
Recipient of the Gelman Trust Fellowship