Arsham Sculpture Unveiled at Arcos

Public Art

BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY NOV 9, 2018

With the opening of the Arcos development at the corner of Fruitville and Central avenues comes not just a new art gallery in Gaze Modern, but a new piece of public art for Sarasota’s growing collection. Created by international sculptor Daniel Arsham, whose collaborations include work with brands like Calvin Klein and Louis Vuitton and artists like James Franco and Pharrell Williams, the aluminum sculpture clad in industrial strength airplane is designed specifically for the site and to withstand the harsh Florida sun. Fresh off an exhibition opening in New York City, Arsham made the trip to Sarasota and SRQ grabbed a quick word.

SRQ: What interested you about coming here for this project in Sarasota? Arsham: The first thing is art in a public place. Most of the work that I make, it's usually in museums and galleries, which for some people can be an intimidating experience. And they're also not everywhere, right? So in some of the cities that don't have bigger museums where I would be showing my work, I've done some of these smaller, public art projects, which bring the work to everyone.

What do you think that does for a community, to have strong public art? The artist's job is really to create a scenario where there's a subtle shift in reality. You're taking people outside of the everyday experience. It's a shift in materials, but often recognizable things. And the work that's here is based on a series of work that I've done where you have a simple crude white wall, and the surface of the wall is manipulated to some of kind of figure interacting with it. It's this idea of a kind of fabric sort of moving over the figure, right? You have the impression of the figure but there's no figure actually inside. Kind of like a frozen moment of something that doesn't exist anymore.

With a project like this, where do you start? I grew up in Miami, so I'm familiar with the landscape and the feeling of it. And living in Miami, I was much closer to nature than I am in New York—a lot of green and sky—and white is such a foreign color to that universe. So having something that stark white and clean would stand out against everything else. And this being a public art project, there was a proposal phase for it. I think it was a little bit outside of their everyday thing, but they were brave.

Is there something in particular you hope the audience will take from your work? Most of the works are just an invitation for people to step outside the everyday and do a double take as they're passing by.

Photo by Phil Lederer.

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