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The work of Miami-raised, New York-based artist Daniel Arsham combines art, architecture and performance to distort the line between the real and the imagined, calling to question our understanding of structures, space and form.

Known for his sculptural work and large-scale paintings, a pivotal moment in Arsham’s career took place in 2004, when legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham asked the artist to create stage designs for his dance company. Since then, Arsham has translated his monochromatic palette and clean aesthetic into several other projects and collaborations, including a series of keyboard sculptures with musician and producer Pharrell Williams; the collaborative and experimental studio Snarkitecture he founded with Alex Mustonen; and the production company Film the Future he founded with director/cinematographer/editor Ben Louis Nicholas and producer Courtney Andrialis.

Arsham’s last solo exhibition in Miami was a site-specific installation titled Welcome to the Future at Locust Projects in the Design District. Arsham transformed the space into an excavation site, dropping thousands of calcified artifacts—guitars, telephones, clocks, keyboards, cameras, etc.—into a 25-foot wide trench in the gallery’s floor.

This month, Arsham returns to Miami—to YoungArts, where he was recognized as a winner in visual arts as a high school student in 1999—with The Future Was Written, a wholly immersive and evolving exhibition, curated by newly appointed Pérez Art Museum Miami Director, Franklin Sirmans.  Epitomizing many of the prevalent themes and motifs in his work, Arsham will transform the YoungArts Gallery into a site of fictional archeology by covering the walls with black chalkboard paint and peppering nearly 2,000 objects made of chalk on pedestals and the floor throughout the space.

Visitors of all ages will be invited to write, draw and make their markings on the walls of the gallery with these chalk casts of body parts, such as hands and faces, as well as outmoded communication devices including cameras, telephones, video game controllers, and computers. Through this mark-making process, these future relics of the present will progressively erode away, providing visitors with a unique experience as actors and creators throughout the duration of the show.

The unveiling of Arsham’s show is slated to coincide with YoungArts Awareness Day on September 24 – a nationwide effort to promote the organization’s mission and program applications for emerging artists aged 15 – 18 years.  Celebratory events will include a Salon Series talk with Arsham and Sirmans at Ted’s at 7:00 p.m. (tickets $20 - $35), followed by a reception at the gallery from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. (free), at YoungArts Campus, 2100 Biscayne Boulevard.  Visit and for information and tickets.  The exhibition will remain on view through December 11, 2015. 

With contributions by Elsie Morales


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