Critics’ Picks

Daniel Arsham, Welcome to the Future, 2014, volcanic ash, steel, obsidian, and rose quartz, dimensions variable.


Daniel Arsham

Locust Projects
3852 North Miami Avenue
November 15, 2014–January 30, 2015

For his latest site-specific installation, Daniel Arsham dug a large, circular trench in this gallery’s floor and filled it with nearly three thousand sculptures. The majority are made from molds of outmoded devices found on eBay, such as boom boxes, record players, VHS and cassette tapes, electric guitars, pianos, as well as corded telephones and payphones. Cast in crystal, volcanic ash, and other geological materials that give each work a charcoal-gray or chalky-white color, they are presented as eroded and timeworn artifacts of the recent past. However, the work's title, Welcome to the Future, suggests that the installation is as much about what is to come as what has already come to pass.

Peeking out among the mounds of technological relics are objects that indicate the concerns of this installation are not just about new media. Sculptures of calcified boxes of crayons, Mickey Mouse and cat figures, footballs, and guns lend an apocalyptic overtone to the display. Indeed, concrete slabs removed from the gallery’s floor to reveal this trove of objects and placed in the front room on the ground, leaned up against the wall, or stacked on top of each other—foreshadow as much. Though the assemblage recalls the aftereffects of a calamity—natural or manmade—the lack of a palpable human touch in the work is what is most eerie and startling about this pseudo-archaeological dig.