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Cheat Sheet On Daniel Arsham
All about the master of erosion
Art Expert 29 Jul 2020

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past century – and let’s face it, it’s a possibility – you’ll be familiar with Daniel Arsham. Famous for his eroded artworks and his collaborations with Dior, Disney and Pokemon, he is one of the art world’s hottest stars. But do you really know everything about him? Here’s a quick cheat sheet covering all things Daniel Arsham.

Let’s Start With The Basics

He was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1980, but raised in Miami, Florida. He attended the Cooper Union in New York City. 

He Is A Hurricane Survivor

When Arsham was 12 Hurricane Andrew destroyed his home, an event that has had a big impact on his work. The experience showed him how architecture supports buildings and how nature has the power to destroy our world. It’s a big inspiration for his eroded artworks. 

He Opened His Own Exhibition Space

After art school, Arsham and his artist friends opened a space called The House in Miami. It is here that he met his gallerist Emmanuel Perrotin in 2004. 

He’s Big On Collaboration

Arsham’s collabs cover the architecture, dance and fashion worlds. Stand out collaborations include work with Hedi Slime and Kim Jones for Dior Mens, as well as his collaborative practice Snarkitecture with architect Alex Mustonen. 

And While We’re On Snarkitecture

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weekend recap

A post shared by Snarkitecture (@snarkitecture) on

The name is taken from a poem by Lewis Carroll called The Hunting of the Snark. Through snarkitecture, Arsham reworks materials and subverts traditional design. Such objects include Nike Air Jordan’s, perfume bottles and marble snakes. 

He’s A Filmmaker Too

Arsham founded his production company Films of the Future in 2014. He’s worked on films sponsored by Adidas and released his short film Future Relic in 2015.

He’s Heavily influenced By Architecture

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Gardening in 3015

A post shared by ARSHAM STUDIO 3020 (@danielarsham) on

According to his website bio, 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.” And here you have the art-speak explanation of Arsham’s art practice.

He’s Into Cartoons

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😈Hand sculpted Gengar😈

A post shared by ARSHAM STUDIO 3020 (@danielarsham) on

While we can’t guarantee that Arsham spends his evening watching anime films, we do know that he’s had a number of successful collaborations with the likes of Pokemon and Disney, which might suggest a penchant for cartoons.

He’s Pretty Successful

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past decade, you’ll be pretty familiar with Arsham’s work. With his drops often selling out right-away, and with successful shows across the globe, he’s attracting some pretty big $$$ And just last month, Christie’s dedicated its first online auction to a solo-artist to Arsham, bringing in a whopping HKD 2,084,000

He Turns The Modern Into Something Ancient

Arsham’s works look super new and super old all at once right? He does this by turning his subjects – whether that be a Vogue Magazine or a Pikachu – into sand, volcanic ash, selenite and quartz crystal.

He’s Colourblind

This is why many of his works are white or gray. He didn’t start working with colour until 2015 when he received special glasses to help him see colours. 

He’s Worked In Stage Design Too

Arsham has done a lot of work with set design (remember Dior?!), including for choreographer Merce Cunnigham, who had previously worked with Frank Stella, Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg. Through the dance connection he’s also worked on choreography projects including with Jonah Bokaer.

Text Lizzy Vartanian

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