Daniel Arsham - 20th Century & Contemporary Art: Online Auction, New York New York Thursday, December 7, 2023 | Phillips

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  • Daniel Arsham’s Blue Calcite Eroded Patch 16, 2018 exemplifies the exploration of temporality and pop-culture references that have come to define the artist’s oeuvre. An amalgamation of blue calcite and Hydrostone fragmented into two parts, Blue Calcite Eroded Patch 16 is a depiction of Looney Tunes character, Marvin the Martian. As the title suggests, the works are derived from patches found on the artist’s grade school backpack. While rooted in Arsham’s personal history, these works offer a glimpse into the expansive concept of “future archaeology” that dominates Arsham’s unique visual language.


    Drawing inspiration from how historians learn about previous societies by studying the objects they leave behind, Arsham expands the framework of archaeology as a study, projecting it 1000 years into the future. He takes objects from contemporary pop culture, casts them in a combination of geological materials and then alters them to convey varying states of decay. The results are objects that appear to challenge the tenets of time: worn and aged, much like many of the antiquities housed at museums across the world, yet clearly derived from 21st century life.


    “They're looking at something from their own experience, but it feels like something from the past, which is confusing. The works become like problems that people try to unravel.” 
    —Daniel Arsham


    In Blue Calcite Eroded Patch 16, parts of the object are intentionally chipped away while others are adorned with calcite crystals. One set of alterations conveys a sense of decay while the other, a sense of growth. Arsham acknowledges the significance of the paradoxical nature of these works: “Crystal is something we know forms over millennia, so the works present in their materiality this idea that they could either be falling apart or growing together, to some sort of completion in the future.”ii



    In the present lot, there are intentional cracks running through the Hydrostone that have been repaired. This subtle reminder of human craftsmanship strengthens the narrative behind Arsham’s objects, solidifying them as products not only created by a society but revered enough to be conserved. Similarly, Arsham’s use of geological materials emphasizes the fact that these objects originated on Earth, drawing a direct temporal line from antiquities to his work. This forges a link between past, present and future, flattening the traditional delineations between the three, and encouraging viewers to consider both their place within the scope of human history and the light in which future generations will hold our current society. In conjuring the ethos of archaeology, Arsham allows objects from history and the stories they tell to serve as a permanent foil to his futuristic creations, in turn asking viewers to contemplate what will be derived from the objects we leave behind.


    Collaborations with cultural cornerstones like Dior, Pokémon, Tiffany & Co. and Hot Wheels have thrust Arsham into the thick of the contemporary art world. His ability to employ a wide range of mediums while maintaining a distinct personal aesthetic has allowed Arsham to explore different corners of the industry. He is a co-founder of the design collaborative Snarkitecture and is currently the only Creative Director of an NBA team – his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. This year, Arsham’s work was the subject of two concurrent solo shows in Paris and New York celebrating 20 years of the artist’s collaboration with Emmanuel Perrotin.



    i Daniel Arsham, quoted in Sophie Lee, “Daniel Arsham, Artist of the Future, Travels Back in Time,” Cultured, February 15, 2023, online.

    ii Daniel Arsham, quoted in Steph Wade, “In Conversation with Daniel Arsham, The Prolific Artist Exploring The Mysteries Of Time,” Ignant, October 7, 2021, online.

    • Provenance

      Galerie Perrotin, New York
      Private Collection
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Amsterdam, Modern Contemporary Museum, Connecting Time, January 18–September 30, 2019


Blue Calcite Eroded Patch 16

blue calcite and Hydrostone, in 2 parts
82 x 48 x 2 1/4 in. (208.3 x 121.9 x 5.7 cm)
Executed in 2018, this work is unique.

Full Cataloguing

$25,000 - 35,000 

Contact Specialist

Katerina Blackwood
Associate Specialist, Head of Online Sales, New York
20th Century & Contemporary Art
+1 212 940 1248

20th Century & Contemporary Art: Online Auction, New York

7 - 14 December 2023