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Arman (French/American, 1928-2005)


Also known as:  Arman, Fernandez; Fernandez, Armand; Armand Fernandez; Fernandez, Armand Pierre

Arman was an integral part of the "Nouveau Realisme" (New Realism) movement, and his art explored ordinary objects, and even refuse, as having an aesthetic component. At the height of his artistic prowess, Arman expressed a thoughtful commentary on the mass-produced nature of modern society through his works. "Accumulation" and "Poubelle" (literally translated "trash-bin") are two styles of art that he is best known for creating. His accumulations, such as "Stegosaurus Plierus" (an assortment of bronze wrenches welded together), were sculptures consisting of a large number of identical objects. His poubelles were made of piles of trash, usually contained in a plexi-glass box. Arman had a long artistic career in a variety of mediums including painting, prints, monumental sculpture, and his accumulations.

Born in Nice, France in 1928, Arman showed a propensity for artistic talent at a young age. He learned to paint and had a deep love of music. He has credited his father's profession as an antique dealer with his fascination with everyday objects. Studying at Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs in Nice and the Ecole du Louvre in Paris, Arman soon began to develop his own aesthetic and began producing abstract paintings. His opening show in 1954, however, featured early accumulations inspired by the Dadaism movement. It was soon after that that Arman and several of his contemporaries signed the New Realism charter. His works have been exhibited and placed in Europe, the United States, Japan, and even Beirut, Lebanon. New York City soon became Arman's home, where he continued to create ever ambitious projects. His artistic output was truly prolific over the span of his long career. Towards the end of his life Arman returned to painting. He passed away in 2005.

One notable piece of Arman's that is stunning conceptually and visually is "Long Term Parking" in Paris. Towering fifty feet high, the monumental sculpture consists of many cars piled on top of each other held together with concrete. Other striking sculptures include ones he created using musical instruments. Perhaps drawing on his love of music, Arman made many accumulations and "coupes" (objects he cut apart and then displayed, either frozen in plexi-glass or free-standing) out of cellos, saxophones, and violins. "Stradivarius", "Go Marchin' In", and "Vertical Orchestra" are several examples of this type of work.

Arman left a thought-provoking legacy of art for generations after him to ponder and enjoy.

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