Q&A: Artist Daniel Arsham's Global Standard Takeover

The Standard and Daniel Arsham go way back—from parties on Sunset Boulevard (and Belle Isle) to his seemingly weightless installation (Pixel Clouds, 2014) at The Standard, East Village. As the art-world innovator celebrates a 20-year partnership with Gallery Perrotin, artworks from the last two decades are popping up at The Standard.

Starting this month, Pokémon-inspired Arsham sculptures (and more) will appear on The Standard Plaza at The Standard, High Line in NYC—along with a shoppable collection of Arsham Editions at The Shop. At The Standard, London, Classically inspired busts and statues will be on display in The Library Lounge. Even more Arsham works are on their way to The Standard, Bangkok Mahanakhon—another Standard celebrating Daniel’s last two decades with Gallery Perrotin

We caught up with the artist himself in The Shop at The Standard, High Line to chat music, pocket monsters, Standard memories and what the next 20 years have in store.

The Standard: Tell us about memories at The Standard.


Daniel Arsham: I've been going to The Standard for more than 20 years, probably. I’ve spent a lot of time at The Standard in Miami and The Standard on Sunset in Los Angeles—and certainly have been to many parties here on the roof, including the one that we did for my opening about two weeks ago. It's always a place to be with friends and has this kind of consistent energy to it that works all the different locations. 


TS: How did you choose these works for exhibition?


DA: Here at The Standard, High Line I have a couple of works that are being exhibited kind of as an ancillary project as part of my exhibition [celebrating] 20 years at Gallery Perrotin here in New York. There's one work which is outside which is an eroded Pikachu in bronze. This is part of a series that I did in collaboration with The Pokémon Company out of Japan. The work is made out of patinated bronze with crystals that are kind of growing out of it that have been polished back. 

I’ve brought a couple of works also here in The Shop at The Standard that are from my editions entity which is part of the studio: the DeLorean, the Charizard card, the Squirtle and Pikachu.

TS: What’ve you learned in the last 20 years?


DA: I began working with Emmanuel Perrotin when I was very young—just out of school—and most of the work that I made at that time was drawing and painting…kind of imagining scenarios that were not necessarily possible to create in sculpture. As the work has developed, I’ve focused much more heavily on the sculptural practice and architecture over the middle period of that 20 years. Lately I've been going back to drawing and painting. If you visit the exhibition in New York or in Paris, there's a whole series of drawings in that exhibition which are sort of preparatory work. They’re things that typically I wouldn't have shown in the past, but I felt were maybe significant for people to kind of understand the process of making the work.


TS: What’re you looking forward to in the next 20 years?


DA: So much of my work has been about engaging different types of audiences. I worked for many years as a stage designer for a choreographer—Merce Cunningham. I’ve worked in music, I’ve worked in architecture and fashion, and in automotive space. I think as I as my work progresses and as I get older, the ability to work with other people who have a kind of magic in their own creation…just to be around that and learn from other ways of making meaning. That’s going to become more and more important. 


TS: Tell us more about how the Pokémon collab came about. Do you have a favorite character?


DA: I've been a fan of Pokémon, I don’t know—for the last 20 years—and when I make these sculptures of these fictional archeological works I'm often looking for a subject that is very recognizable globally. If I want to make something that appears as if it's existing in the future, I need a link to our own life period. I'm trying to find these very recognizable objects. Sometimes they're technological objects, sometimes they’re things that are more related to pop culture. Pokémon was this kind of perfect blending of those two universes. 

It was actually The Pokémon Company that reached out to me about collaborating with them, and I was given full access to their archive and the ability to work with all of the different Pokémon characters. We actually worked on an animation together as well, which was part of the larger collaboration and in that, the Pokémon that I selected to be with me was Cubone.


TS: What are you listening to lately?


DA: I’ve been listening to a lot of Afrobeat and…what was I listening to right before I came here? *thinks* Gideon…Gideon is a favorite. 


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