15 August 2009


"I did not find accumulation, accumulation found me"

Armand Pierre Fernandez was born in Nice in 1928. With an artistic father, Fernandez was directed towards painting at an early age. He attended the Ecole Nationale d'Art Decoratif in Nice, as well as the Ecole de Louvre in Paris. Inspired by Van Gogh's signature of "Vincent" on his paintings, Fernandez began going by Armand, but soon changed his name to "Arman" following a printing error in 1958. Arman became a US citizen in 1972 after years of spending time in New York, and lives and works there today. He has worked closely with Yves Klein, a friend he met at a Judo school in Nice, as well as Andy Warhol. Joined by Klein and a number of other nameable artists, Arman is part of the Nouveau Realisme group formed in Paris whose work is concerned mostly with implications of industrial expansion and consumerist society.

"Boom Boom" 1966

Arman started his artistic career developing abstract image-making and carried this out into the late 50s. However, this is not what most know him for. Toward the end of this decade, Arman began to take a strong lean towards Dadaist techniques influenced by Duchamp's work. This is when he began exhibiting his Accumulations, art pieces dedicated to the collection and exhibition of replicated objects.

"I Still Use Brushes" 1969 (I could not find Crusaders online, this is very similar and held at MoMA)

Chosen by the Artbook, Crusaders is a 48" x 48" canvas filled with glued-on paintbrushes. As assumed from the title, this army of stacked brushes takes on a mission of its own, tying in themes of mass production. "...paint brushes are attached to the canvas in almost military formation, their silver-coloured handles and black bristles forming an abstract design." Arman created many other pieces in which the tools of creation are the main feature, eliminating the dynamic of creator and creation. More pieces with this theme are shown below.

"The Big Sax" 1976

Arman also highly publicized a 20th century society of waste and destruction. He did a number of assemblages of trash, such as Full-Up (1960, MoMA) shown below. "Arman's assemblages of accumulated objects reflect our throwaway society, offering a fetishistic portrait of how we live and document our lives." Arman's work groups unexceptional objects of a consumerist culture, puts them on display, and forms an immense statement about the character of the society we live and take pride in.

"Full Up" 1960, MoMA

"Homage a Pablo" 1998

"Summer Time," 1992

It is difficult to relay the variety and amount of accumulations Arman has completed within his lifetime. If you are interested in Arman, I highly recommend you check out his website, complete with his oeuvre and a great introductory video that shows him working on one of his pieces.

Last but not least, my favorite work of his is entitled Long Term Parking and displays 60 cars stacked in concrete. It is currently held on permanent display in France at Jouy-en-Josas. Enjoy!

"Long Term Parking" 1982

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