Voyage en France, 1963
metal wine bottle seals in polyester,
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

ARMAN (b. 1928), New York, NY
Among the numerous museum collections worldwide featuring work by Arman are the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; The Metropolitan Museum Art and The Museum of Modern Art, both New York; Martin H. Bush Outdoor Sculpture Collection, Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Kansas; St. Louis Museum of Art, Missouri; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana; Museum Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; Nationale Gallery, Berlin and Tate Gallery, London, England.

A world renown sculptor and painter associated with the New Realists, an avante garde group that flourished in Europe during the mid 20th century, Arman is recognized for his ‘accumulations’ of like-objects encased in plastic or resins; mixed media constructions; sliced bronze sculptural forms; and ‘destructions.’ Arman played an active role in many of the art movements occurring during the 1950s to 1970s which significantly effected the evolution of 20th century art.

Born Armand Pierre Fernandez in Nice, France, the artist studied at Ecole Nationale des Arts Decoratifs, Nice, 1946-1949. In 1947, he became acquainted with fellow artist Yves Klein (1928-1962) at a judo school in Nice, and the same year decided to sign his work with only his first name. In 1958, the Parisian printer of an exhibition catalogue accidentally omitted the ‘d’ from the artist’s name in that publication. Although initially outraged by the oversight, he decided to continue to be known as simply “Arman.”

His first sculptural works called ‘accumulations’ were begun in 1959, and the idea of using collections of multiple like-objects has been a reccurring theme in his work ever since. He has collected trash, nostalgic objects and more recently massed-produced objects for his sculpture, the latter, possibly reflective of the excesses of modern life. Arman’s selection of specific objects often had political, social or personal meanings, and the random placement of these objects into clear containers also provided an element of chance in his work.

Early in the 1960s, the artist’s sculpture was based on the process of destruction. Arman altered objects by smashing, burning, or cutting them into strips and encasing the pieces or embedding them in polyester resin. In 1961 the artist visited New York City and was represented there in his first group exhibition in this country at The Museum of Modern Art. He continued to commute between Europe and America for several years. Arman became an American citizen in 1973.

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