Arman was born Armand Fernandez, in France, in 1928. He first studied at École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs in Nice, and later in Paris at École du Louvre. Arman moved to the United States in the 1961 and became an American citizen in 1973. During a career that spanned five decades he had over 600 solo-exhibitions, including retrospectives at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts in 1991 and Jeu de Paume in 1998, as well as public art commissions such as Long Term Parking (1982) in Jouy-en-Josas, France and Hope For Peace (1995) in Beirut, Lebanon. His work is included in many esteemed collection, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Tate Modern, and Centre Pompidou. The artist died in New York in 2005.
Arman was a multi-disciplinary talent most renowned for his Accumulation and Poubelle sculptures. Two distinct strategies, the Accumulations are assemblages of identical objects, often suspended in resin or staged in Plexiglas boxes, while the Poubelles are arranged collections of trash and other refuse. A founding member of Nouveau Réalisme, a group established to reinvigorated the connection between art and life, to unique ends, Arman’s sculptures cross-pollinate artistic vision with manufactured sameness. His materials, techniques and scale, wedge the artist between the ready-made-mindset of the Dadaists and the “everyman’s” culture of Pop Art. Incorporating quotidian objects into his constructions, Arman birthed sublime sculptural reflections on the ubiquity of twentieth century life. Using groups of paintbrushes, watches, telephones, automobiles and instruments, Arman explored the artistic implications of a new age of precision and mechanical reproduction. The quantities of objects and their repetition induce a sense of anarchy and instability, which highlights the dichotomous nature of rising prosperity and ease-of-life, against a backdrop of competing ideologies and nationalistic rivalries.