On Wednesday morning New York artist Daniel Arsham walked through a cave of purple globes, a surrealistic landscape of his own design, and spoke of the benefit of buying amethysts in bulk.
A closer look at the undulant walls revealed that each sphere was in the shape of a basketball, baseball, volleyball or some other sports-related ball, but each also looked oddly granular and flaky. Some were broken apart to reveal an interior bristling with purple crystals.
This installation at the High Museum of Art, called “Daniel Arsham: Hourglass,” will take up two floors of the Anne Cox Chambers Wing, and will be on display March 4 through May 21.
The purplish balls were indeed made of a mixture of amethysts and a gypsum binding material, cast in the shape of inflatable sports equipment. Arsham, 36, has assembled these items, hundreds of them, in a room at the High, where dim lighting and mirrors give one the sense of being inside a cloud of lavender bubbles.
The idea, said the slim, soft-spoken Arsham, is to take a present-day object and create a copy that looks like some fossil that archaeologists might find a thousand years in the future. “They’ve been reformed in materials that we associate with the geological time frame,” he said.
Elsewhere on the same floor a Japanese teahouse was taking shape, which will eventually sit in front of a raked Zen garden, all in a shade of electric blue. On the ground floor will be a collection of massive hourglasses, that turn and reveal artifacts inside, as the sand slowly slips through the interior aperture.
On Wednesday Arsham walked us through the cavern, as workers filled the air with the whine of drills and table saws, busily assembling other parts of the show.