Daniel Arsham: Master of (Creative) Manipulation

"Knot" by Daniel Arsham

"Corner Knot" by Daniel Arsham, 2008. EPS, plaster, paint, joint compound. 18 x 64 x 20 inches

Set design for Merce Cunningham, Va de Marne, by Daniel Arsham. France, 2009.

Set design for Merce Cunningham, Val de Marne, by Daniel Arsham. France, 2009.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of a studio visit with sculptor Daniel Arsham. Arsham describes his work as “architectural interventions,” often playing upon existing structures to create unexpected yet organic sculptures – a knot at the corner of two walls, or a chair emerging from within a wall, and so on.

I first came across Arsham last December in Miami, and his light installation at the Beacon/Miami for Art Basel. Most recently, he was in the press for his second collaboration with legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham.  Cunningham is known for creating full evenings of dance in spaces other than traditional theater, with the understanding that the space itself becomes the performance’s décor.In the formative years of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, artist Robert Rauschenberg created scenic designs and costumes in situ, utilizing what was available either within the city or theater where the performance occurred.

For the latest Cunningham-Arsham collaboration, Arsham created site-specific set designs for Au Tour De Paris (coinciding with Cunningham’s 90th birthday). As the performers dance and the music plays, Arsham cuts into heavy black foam cubes, lit white from within, manipulating the scenery as the show progresses. The performances were a surprise for all, as Arsham and Cunningham had little creative communication prior, and all the design elements (choreography, music, décor, costumes, and lighting) changed throughout the tour.

This July, Arsham’s newest work will be on public display, courtesy of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. A collaborative performance called “Untitled Corner” by Arsham, choreographer and media artist Jonah Bokaer and choreographer and dancer Judith Sanchez Ruiz will examine “pattern recognition and perceptual faculties as they apply to the human body, creating the illusion of expanded space.” Part dance, part music, part architectural manipulation (and part of Sitelines ’09), they’ll be performing for free at One Chase Manhattan Plaza at Nassau Street July 6, 10, 13 and 17th at 12:30 pm and July 8th and 15th at 7pm. It’s sure to be a good show, so come by!

For more information on Daniel Arsham, visit www.danielarsham.com

One Response to “Daniel Arsham: Master of (Creative) Manipulation”

  1. Michael Says:

    Hey, have you seen this news article?
    New details about Michael Jackson’s Death Emerge
    I was wondering if you were going to blog about this…