Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

Arts and Entertainment

Photos: Daniel Arsham's Art Show Transforms Objects From Our Present Into Relics Of The Future

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

Daniel Arsham has always been able to play with our minds and alter our sense of reality. And the New York-based artist is bringing his latest inspiration to OHWOW gallery in L.A. on April 5, taking iconic objects from our American culture and making them look like they just came out of an archeological dig in the distant future.

His "Kick the Tire and Light the Fires" exhibit, which runs through May 3, includes objects like a weathered and crumbling phone you'd see in the '90s, but made entirely of volcanic ash, shattered glass and hydrostone. Other items include basketballs, baseballs, truck tires, an American flag and a McDonald's sign made of crystal and glacial rock dust—"materials that make us think about time," Arsham tells LAist.

"Many of these works are things that you could imagine have been discovered on some future archeological site, an excavation," Arsham says. "And the sort of grouping of objects at this exhibition at OHWOW all centers around a kind of Americana."

Support for LAist comes from

An Instagram video clip showing Arsham working on creating a Spalding basketball piece
Even Pharrell is a fan of Arsham's work in preserving the memory of iconic items from our past. Arsham recreated the "Happy" singer and mega-producer's Casio MT-500 keyboard last year.

"So with Pharrell, we had been talking for a while about sort of a collaboration, and I asked him what was the device and object—the thing that was important to him at the beginning of his career," Arsham says. "What was the first thing that he made music on that mattered? And for him it was this Casio keyboard, and I remade that item as if it had been buried in the ground for 1,000 years and was transformed into volcanic ash."

Arsham's previous mind-altering artwork has included making walls look like they're melting or covered with fluttering curtains that are made out of fiberglass, not cloth. He also co-founded design outfit Snarkitecture with Alex Mustonen to change the architecture of spaces, including a Richard Chai fashion store in New York designed to look like a glacial excavation dig to large-scale set and lighting designs for renowned late modern dance choreographer Merce Cunningham.

He recalls one of his favorite Snarkitecture Projects, a large installation at the Park Avenue Armory in New York used as a runway for En Noir's fashion show, in which audiences walked through the space he transformed to make look like a huge tunnel. "In the massive volume of the Armory we were able to make it feel both intimate and grandiose in scale," Arsham says. "Rob Garcia from On Noir called it 'monochromic grand minimalism' which I think just about summed up that."

While Arsham hasn't had a solo art exhibition in L.A. since 2012, it's nice for him to be back displaying his American relics that he feels has a "certain resonance with L.A.," he says. Aside from visiting friends, he'll also be off at Soho House and having drinks at legendary L.A. institution Dan Tana'S.

OHWOW is located at 937 N. La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles, (310) 652-1711. The gallery's hours are Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Daniel Arsham's exhibit runs from April 5 to May 3, and opening reception is on April 5 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.