The Parisian pop museum of Daniel Arsham

Iconic classical sculptures are reimagined as futuristic post-apocalyptic artforms in a Paris showcase at Perrotin

Arsham worked with the Réunion des Musées Nationaux Grand Palais in Paris for three months, learning how to reproduce iconic works from Western art history. The artist then twisted these mouldings into new sculptures, which appear as though hit by erosion in a post-apocalyptic future
Arsham worked with the Réunion des Musées Nationaux Grand Palais in Paris for three months, learning how to reproduce iconic works from Western art history. The artist then twisted these mouldings into new sculptures, which appear as though hit by erosion in a post-apocalyptic future

New York-based creator Daniel Arsham has proven himself to be one of the most astute artists of the moment, creating demand for his work that rivals a fashion brand such as Supreme – most recently with a pop-up at London’s Selfridges. Now Perrotin, which has been working with the artist for over a decade, is opening a show of large-scale sculptures in Paris (from January 11 to March 21 2020), that is set to cement his position beyond the American coast. 

A close-up of one of the statues in the exhibition – its classical form subverted by erosion
A close-up of one of the statues in the exhibition – its classical form subverted by erosion
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Arsham’s work responds to ideas around history, the future and archaeology. In the past, this has included reworking objects from VHS tapes to boomboxes into pseudo-archaic objects. The pop-ruins play with concepts of reality, past and future. Arsham has had solo shows at spaces such as the HOW Museum, Shanghai, and been represented in group shows at respected institutions including The New Museum, MCA Chicago and MoMA PS1. The artist is also the co-founder of Snarkitecture, a collaborative practice whose installations have been big successes at Milan’s Salone del Mobile design fair, for example. “From the beginning, Daniel didn’t think about objects and instead thought about entire environments,” Perrotin partner Peggy Leboeuf notes. 

The collection includes both light and dark artworks
The collection includes both light and dark artworks
One of the busts in the collection, which will be showcased at Perrotin, Paris
One of the busts in the collection, which will be showcased at Perrotin, Paris

For his Paris show, Arsham was given unprecedented access to the statuary moulds of the Réunion des Musées Nationaux Grand Palais – the 200-year-old organisation makes facsimile sculptures for museums across Europe. He worked with the RMN for three months, learning how to reproduce works from Western art history, including objects such as the Venus de Milo, Michelangelo’s Moise Assis and artefacts from the Acropolis Museum. The artist then twisted these mouldings in his studio into new sculptures that appear as though hit by erosion in a post-apocalyptic future. Busts begin at $40,000 and the large-scale works start at $100,000.

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Perrotin – which also represents artists who appeal to an audience far beyond the confines of the straight art world such as JR, Takashi Murakami and Xu Zhen – is a good fit for Arsham. This is work that sits between stage prop, design object and serious sculpture. This is art when it becomes something far more than a piece for a gallery.

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