Music Power II


Bronze violins piled into a tower.

Arman (Arman Fernandez)
b. 1928 Nice, France; d. 2005 New York, NY
Music Power II, 2002
110 3/16 x 48 3/8 x 46 3/8 inches
Accession date: 2002
Gift of the artist with the assistance of the Collectors' Forum
Copyright the artist's estate

Arman was an expert assembler and dismantler. He accumulated, dissected and finally reconstructed objects into ordered assemblages to bring attention to the waste born of a consumer society. Sliced, smashed or burned musical instruments were the artist’s most recognizable symbolic objects, as seen here with the numerous violoncellos and bows forming Music Power II. Other versions of Music Power are displayed at the Acropolis in the artist’s hometown of Nice (1985) and at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (1986). This choice of objects can be traced back to his parents­­­, an antiques dealer and amateur cellist. Accordingly, his upbringing instilled in him an intense appreciation for music and an aptitude for discriminating collecting. Additional objects used by Arman include paintbrushes, teapots, shoes, water guns and even cars.

Arman was born Armand Pierre Fernandez and in 1947 inspired by the practice of Vincent van Gogh, he began signing his work with simply his first name and a decade later retained a printer’s misspelling of his name for the rest of his career. He gained international recognition in the 1960s as a leading exponent of the Nouveau Réalisme [New Realist] group in France, which he co-founded with art critic Pierre Restany and artist Yves Klein. Practitioners of Nouveau Réalisme looked to the ready-made art of Marcel Duchamp and incorporated found objects, junk and debris in their work as ironic commentary on modern life and exalting ordinary man-made items into relics of waste.