Blue Crystal Basketballs Memorialize the Future of the Game

Daniel Arsham overcomes his colorblindness to create surreal fossils of the modern day.

by Beckett Mufson
May 3 2016, 2:50pm

A photo posted by Daniel Arsham  (@danielarsham) on

Brooklyn-based artist and "fictional archaelogist" Daniel Arsham preserves objects from the recent past and present as "Future Relics," fossil-like sculptures produced by intricate and arcane molding processes. His latest work is a rack of basketballs created with a technique he and his studio have been developing for six years, which will be displayed at Art Basel in Switzerland next month.

Arsham is a known basketball fan, having spent a  great deal of time molding a replica of a 90's Chicago Bulls jacket from stone. Fans of his work will notice that this piece is different from the rest of his monotone repertoire, molded not from white stone but rich blue calcite crystals that Arsham says, in an Instagram post, "took thousands of years to form." He reveals that much of his work has been influenced by an affliction of color blindness for the better part of a decade, but he recently experienced a change that casts his practice in a new light. "Since receiving specially made lenses that correct my color blindness last year I have been developing new works in full color," he reveals in the same series of posts, this one depicting an insanely detailed blue crystal flag that will be on display during Frieze Week in New York.

For those worried that Arsham's work will transform from minimalist masterpieces to gaudy rainbows because of his newfound taste for color, Arsham assures us, "I have always worked in a reduced palette. In past works it was partly because of my color blind condition. Now that I can see in color I am still working with reduction." So far he has only released works in the dazzling shade of blue calcite pictured here. The goal is to create an air of timelessness, incepting the feeling that humans could see the same thing in a history museum in the future. "Imagine you are seeing them in a thousand years, uncovered in some future a archeological excavation," Arsham says of his basketballs. In a picture of the flag, he leaves a single hint of the emotional impact of seeing color for the first time: "Seeing in color is..."

Check out the two new works in the Instagrams below.


A photo posted by Daniel Arsham  (@danielarsham) on


A photo posted by Daniel Arsham  (@danielarsham) on


A photo posted by Daniel Arsham  (@danielarsham) on


A photo posted by Daniel Arsham  (@danielarsham) on


A photo posted by Daniel Arsham  (@danielarsham) on

Follow Daniel Arsham on Instagram. Find your new favorite artist on The Creators Project's Instagram here.


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Daniel Arsham
Frieze week
art basel switzerland
blue calcite crystal
fictional archaeology