Daniel Arsham

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Daniel Arsham
Born 1980
Cleveland, Ohio
Nationality American
Education Cooper Union
Known for Visual Artist

Daniel Arsham (born 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio) is a contemporary American artist raised in Miami, Florida. He currently lives and works in New York City.


New York-based artist Daniel Arsham straddles 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 intended 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 archaeological 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 in stage, collaborating with Robert Wilson as well as Jonah Bokaer, who was a former Cunningham dancer. Arsham’s collaboration with Bokaer includes works performed worldwide at locations such as New Museum in New York, IVAM in Spain, and Hellenic Festival in Athens, Greece, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts, as well as the prestigious Festival de Avignon. Arsham’s 2013 collaboration with musician and producer Pharrell Williams involved the recreation of Pharrell’s first keyboard in volcanic ash.[1]

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 pavilion for Design Miami, as well as a complete line of functional design objects.

Arsham’s work has been shown at MoMA PS1 in New York, Museum of Contemporary Art in Miami, Athens Biennial in Athens, Greece, New Museum In New York, Mills College Art Museum in Oakland, California, and Carré d’Art de Nîmes in France, among others. The 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 Perrotin in Paris, Hong Kong, and New York, Moran Bondaroff (formerly OHWOW) in Los Angeles, Baró Galeria in Sao Paulo, and Pippy Houldsworth Gallery in London.[2]

His latest series, Future Relic,[3] is two years in the making and consists of nine short films that depict a future civilization before and after Earth undergoes major ecological changes. The series also includes sculptures of petrified twentieth-century media artifacts constructed to look like artifacts decaying from obsolescence.


Merce Cunningham

In 2006, legendary modern dance choreographer Merce Cunningham asked Arsham to design the set, lighting and costumes for his piece, "eyeSpace."[4] The performance premiered in 2007 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami. Arsham, the youngest artist invited to work with the company, was also the last artist to collaborate with Cunningham before the choreographer's death in 2009. The two worked on a series of performances as part of the Festival National de Danse de Val-de-Marne. For these performances, Cunningham asked Arsham to recreate the in situ style of set design originally explored by Merce and Robert Rauschenberg.

Hedi Slimane

In 2005, Arsham was commissioned by legendary fashion designer Hedi Slimane to design the fitting rooms for Dior Homme's Los Angeles shop. Slimane's only limitations were that the rooms have "a hook, a seat and a mirror." Arsham's design incorporates his signature plaster erosions: the white fitting room walls seem to melt onto the bench, the mirror appears to have been excavated from the wall.

Jonah Bokaer

In 2007, Jonah Bokaer [4] performed choreography inspired by Arsham's work at Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin in Paris. Jonah Bokaer, previously a dancer for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, is a media-artist and choreographer. Bokaer and Arsham are currently collaborating on "REPLICA," a piece that incorporates built space, objects, and lighting in an exploration of memory loss, pattern recognition, and perceptual faculties. The performance had its world premier at IVAM in Valencia, Spain as part of Robert Wilson (director) [5] exhibition "Frontiers." "REPLICA" is currently on tour and has been performed at The New Museum in New York City and Harman Center for the Arts [6] in Washington, DC.
Their new collaboration “Why Patterns” combines Arsham’s architectural practice Snarkitecture with his performance work with Bokaer. “Why Patterns” had its world premier at Rotterdamse Schouwburg in Rotterdam, Netherlands on February 2010.[5] The dance's US premiere will take place at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts in August 2011.


Snarkitecture is a collaborative practice established by Arsham and architect Alex Mustonen in 2008. Rather than make architecture, the interest of Snarkitecture lies in the exploration of existing materials within a space and how they might be manipulated to serve a new and imaginative purpose. The firm makes architecture do things it is not intended to do. In collaboration with Arsham, the practice has been commissioned for two public art projects at the new Marlins Park.[6]
Daniel Arsham/Snarkitecture were selected as one of three artists to contribute artwork to the new baseball stadium located on the site of the Orange Bowl near downtown Miami, scheduled to open in 2012. Their project for the illumination of the four super columns supporting the retractable roof gives the illusion of the columns being concealed and revealed through as light fades up and down the columns. A second project for a marker to commemorate the site of the former Orange Bowl reimagines the letters from the former Orange Bowl sign as 10 foot concrete letters dispersed in various positions through the east plaza of the new ballpark. The letters are arranged so that they appear to spell different words as visitors move through the plaza.[6]
The pair are currently at work on "Dig," an architectural intervention at Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York. As an investigation of the "architecture of excavation," Storefront's gallery space was infilled with a solid volume of EPS architectural foam that was then excavated by hand using hand tools to create "a cavernous space for work and play."[4] The installation is open to public view through April 23, 2011. Snarkitecture also designed the A+ Award for the online publication Architizer.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Azzarello, Nina (September 16, 2013). "daniel arsham x pharrell: casio MT-500 made from volcanic ash". designboom. 
  2. ^ http://www.danielarsham.com/about/
  3. ^ Barone, Matt (April 27, 2015). "Watch New Short FIlm: Future Relic 03 By Daniel Arsham". Tribeca Film. 
  4. ^ "eyeSpace (2007)"[1] Merce.org [2] Accessed 3/10/2009.
  5. ^ "REPLICA." JonahBokaer.net [3] Accessed 3/10/2009.
  6. ^ a b Joe Frisaro (2009-12-18). "Marlins select artists for new ballpark". MLB Advanced Media, L.P. Retrieved 2009-12-18.