15 Minutes With Daniel Arsham


Known for his structural playfulness, artist Daniel Arsham’s work pays homage to the past while making us question the future that we are leaving behind. The archaeologist of futuristic antiquity sheds light on his relics and more. Check out the full story in our summer issue!

CH+D: The details in your work evoke the architectural spirit of the antiquities. How has that time period influenced you?

I spent a lot of time studying work from the antiquity, specifically sculpture and the material qualities present in the work such as marble. It encourages me to play with materials that evoke a sense of time, including, volcanic ash, crystal, and obsidian.

With the exception of a few grayscale relics, what does creating work in neutral tones mean to you as an artist?

I am severely colorblind, so the reduction of color has been a part of my practice for some time now. The neutral palette allows me to concentrate on form over anything else. 


You often mention the manipulation of architectural surfaces in your work, but how do you approach the alteration of the installation space?

It’s about  disrupting the familiarity people have with the context of surfaces and spaces. By breaking this familiarity, I am able to upset their sensation of the space and change their perspective. This is achieved by borrowing other processes of movement.

“Hooded Figure,” 2015, currently on view at CAC Cincinnati.

We are big fans of Snarkitecture. What’s next for the collaboration?

We have a new collection of products coming out, scaling from something you can hold to spaces you can inhabit, including retail concepts for collaborations with friends.

Snarkitecture partners, Alex Mustonen and Daniel Arsham.

You are from Miami, live in NYC, and often work in California with OHWOW. Has CA shaped you as an artist?

I wouldn’t say that it’s shaped me; I like being in LA, as it’s a combination of Miami and NYC, the ocean and the city.

“Welcome To The Future,” 2014-2015, currently on view at CAC Cincinnati.

Is there any person or brand outside of the art world you want to collaborate with, and why?

Many of the collaborations thus far have come to me…so I don’t spend much time thinking about the possibilities, rather I just allow them to happen.


If you could host a dream dinner party, who (dead or alive) would attend?

Truman Capote and Alfred Hitchcock.

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