Why Usher loves Snarkitecture
Discover how the R&B singer developed a long-term collaborative relationship with Snarkitecture's Daniel Arsham
Successful recording artists tend to take an interest in what’s coming next, rather than what’s gone before. However, the singer Usher took an interest in the work of visual artist and Snarkitecture co-founder Daniel Arsham, partly thanks to Arsham’s unusual approach to out-dated consumer durables.
Arsham is known for taking objects such as Polaroid cameras, car steering wheels and electric guitars, and recasting them in plaster, glass, volcanic ash and other materials, to give these outmoded an archaeological feel that has impressed anonymous collectors and pop stars alike.
“The cassettes, the VHS, the Walkmans — these were things that made us who we are as artists," Usher said of Arsham’s work, at Art Basel Miami Beach back in 2014. "And his way of preserving that, and immortalizing what it is, is why I love it."
Their friendship continued to bloom in 2016, when Arsham created the cover art for Usher’s eighth studio album, Hard II Love, rendering the singer’s head in a similiarly rocky fashion.
Now Usher has come out again to support Arsham’s new solo show, Character Study, which opened a few days ago at Morán Morán in Los Angeles.
The show features a series of large, white plaster versions of vintage cartoon patches – patches that once adorned Arsham’s school backpack. Meanwhile, in a separate room, Arsham has installed a model of the moon, as well as piles of coloured sand, arranged in a pattern governed by the Fibonacci sequence.
Arsham is red-green colourblind, a condition he says informs his work. Rather than focussing on pigments, the pieces major on scale, light and shade. That’s clearly something Usher appreciates, even if he came to the opening in a multi-coloured tights and shorts combination that contrasted sharply – and beautifully – with this near monochrome show.