Kick the Tires and Light the Fires
OHWOW is pleased to announce Daniel Arsham’s exhibition Kick the Tires and Light the Fires, presenting a new series of Arsham’s sculptural and two-dimensional work, based around aspects of American culture, the archeology of memory, and the value of conventional objects.
Molding volume from geological elements, Arsham creates topologically manipulated versions of standard, mass-produced items, as if they deteriorated or merely conceptualized as incomplete forms. Objects familiar and integral to America’s cultural heritage, such as Goodyear tires, NBA basketballs, and a McDonalds sign, are cast directly at their original scale. Rather than replicating them classically with plastics or alloys, he instead uses rocks and minerals, such as obsidian, quartz, volcanic ash, or glacial dust. By utilizing geological elements to depict modern convention, he imbues these objects with a nobler status, as seen in Eroded Basketballs (2013).
A confusion of temporal dimension arises because it is unclear how to interpret the work: does it concern the future, present, or past? It could seem as though these objects suggest discovery by a future generation – they look deteriorated, and now calcified; on the other hand, each item is clearly recognizable as a relatively recent invention. Potentially, this work presents psychic artifacts, tangible predictions created by a past civilization forecasting the demise of a subsequent culture. Possibly, and more poignantly, these things translate our fickle attitude toward amassing possessions, visually editorializing the eventual disregard of everything we covet.
Consequently, the complete arrangement of the pieces presented in Kick the Tires and Light the Fires could be construed as a libertine’s collection of kitsch; or, an institutional archive of items – molds engineered from accounts of partial recollections, depicting an ordinary life; or, a selection of antiques, neglected possessions, now recovered and presented as treasures – contemporary icons.
Daniel Arsham (b.1980, Cleveland, OH) lives in New York, NY and works in Brooklyn, NY. He is a graduate of Cooper Union, and a recipient of the Gelman Trust Fellowship. He has exhibited at various institutions, such as PS1, New York, NY; Miami Art Museum, Miami, FL; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, NY; Mills College Art Museum, Oakland, CA; The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, PA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; and the Carré d’Art de Nîmes, Nîmes, France. Arsham’s work is included in public collections at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami, FL; Louis Vuitton Collection, Paris, France; and in The Four Seasons Miami Collection, Miami, FL. Kick the Tires and Light the Fires is Daniel Arsham’s second solo exhibition at OHWOW.