New York based artist Daniel Arsham straddles the line between art, architecture and performance. Raised in Miami, Arsham attended the Cooper Union in New York City where he received the Gelman Trust Fellowship Award in 2003. Architecture is a prevalent subject throughout his work; environments with eroded walls and stairs going nowhere, landscapes where nature overrides structures, and a general sense of playfulness within existing architecture. Arsham makes architecture do things it is not supposed to do, mining everyday experience for opportunities to confuse and confound our expectations of space and form. Simple yet paradoxical gestures dominate his sculptural work: a façade that appears to billow in the wind, a figure wrapped up in the surface of a wall, a contemporary object cast in volcanic ash as if it was found on some future archeological site.
Structural experiment, historical inquiry, and satirical wit all combine in Arsham’s ongoing interrogation of the real and the imagined. In 2004, Arsham participated in the group show Miami Nice at Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin (Paris), which began to represent Arsham in 2005. As one of the founders of the seminal Miami artist-run spaces, “The House”, his interest in collaboration began early. In 2004 legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham asked Arsham to create the stage design for his work eyeSpace. Following this Arsham toured with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company for performances in Australia, France, and multiple locations in the United States.
Arsham’s first stage design for Cunningham was acquired by The Walker Museum for its permanent collection. Despite never being trained in stage design he has continued his practice, collaborating with Robert Wilson, as well as a sustained collaboration with Jonah Bokaer who was a former Cunningham dancer. Arsham’s collaboration with Bokaer includes works performed worldwide at locations such as The New Museum, IVAM in Spain, The Hellenic Festival in Athens Greece, Jacobs Pillow dance festival in Massachusetts, as well as the prestigious Festival de Avignon. Arsham’s most recent collaboration with world renowned musician and producer Pharrell Williams involved the recreation in Volcanic Ash of Pharrell’s first keyboard.
To further expand the possibilities of spatial manipulation and collaboration, Arsham founded Snarkitecture in 2007 with partner Alex Mustonen to serve new and imaginative purposes. Their multidisciplinary practice has included collaborations with designers Public School and Richard Chai, the entrance pavillion for Design Miami, as well as a complete line of functional design objects.
Arsham’s work has been shown at PS1 in New York, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami, The Athens Bienniale in Athens, Greece, The New Museum In New York, Mills College Art Museum in Oakland, California and Carré d’Art de Nîmes, France among others. A first monograph of Arsham’s work was published by the French Centre National des arts plastiques and a second one was published by Galerie Perrotin in 2012.
Arsham is represented by Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin in Paris, Hong Kong, New York, and Seoul, Moran Bondaroff in Los Angeles, Baro Galeria in Sao Paulo, Pippy Houldsworth in London, and Galerie Ron Mandos in Amsterdam.