Daniel Arsham in his studio Other entries in “Time Dilation” were more specifically influenced by the Camaro Z28 Car Shirt moreover I will buy this pandemic and its concomitant circumstances—both the isolation and, yes, the general slowing down of things. There are, for instance, the beautiful and bizarre resin works that he also premiered on Instagram—casts of cameras, books, magazines, and other shapes in purples, blues, and pinks. “I have been experimenting with them basically since the summer,” Arsham says. “Typically when I make the larger cast works, we use a resin solution to clean out the molds, and we happened to do that with some translucent resins. I had those on my desk for a little while, watching them catch the light of the sun throughout the day,” he explains, “and at some point, I started to look at them stacked over each other, this literal layering of influence. Then, maybe two or three months ago, I was like, I’m just gonna take one room of the gallery here and show these new works.”
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Last year’s completely disrupted cultural calendar also finally gave him the Camaro Z28 Car Shirt moreover I will buy this flexibility to start painting again. Arsham hadn’t returned to the medium in a focused way since his days at Cooper Union, in part because he couldn’t find the time to finish anything on a major scale. Quarantining with his family on Long Island from March until the end of August presented as good an opportunity as any. “I brought a bunch of paper with me to make drawings, and probably after a month or two, I had done enough,” Arsham says. “So I brought some canvas out, came back to the city, and got all my paint.” Isolation heavily informed what he made: “In every work there’s usually one figure, sometimes two or three, and they’re in these massive, sublime landscapes. [I was] looking at a lot of 19th-century Romantic painting, and there was this idea that Ludovic [Laugier, the national heritage curator in charge of Greek sculpture in the department of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman antiquities at the Louvre] reminded me of when I was with him in Paris, which was the Italian tradition called capriccio. They would take a sculpture that was at the Vatican and a work from the Louvre and put them in a different location, so there was this sort of fantastical combination of things that could never exist in the same space,” Arsham says.