One of the latest and most prestigious additions to the Pratt Sculpture Garden is a work by the influential 20th century sculptor Armand Pierre Fernandez, known simply as Arman (1928–2005).
The Arman piece on loan at Pratt is a piano, smashed so it collapses in the middle, and cast in bronze. It is called Accord Final in French; in English, it has the more amusing title They Wouldn’t Let Me Play at Carnegie Hall.
Arman, along with other artists, founded the New Realism movement in 1960, seeking to recycle and re-appropriate reality. His work often commented on materialism, and much of it involved creating sculptures from found objects. Among his most famous pieces is the 1982 piece Long Term Parking, a 50-foot-high tower of cars encased in concrete.
“Arman was provocative,” says Corice Arman. Indeed, Accord Final was done during a period in which Arman’s work focused on destroying—sometimes publicly and theatrically—large objects, such as musical instruments and furniture.
“It was thought-provoking for him,” explains Corice Arman. “There was rage, but it was controlled. He always knew which part of the objects he wanted to retain.” (She also stresses that Arman loved music and only smashed instruments that were otherwise unsalvageable.)
Arman died in 2005 and since then his wife has worked to preserve his legacy. Most recently, Corice Arman helped mount a restrospective of Arman’s work at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Corice Arman says she is especially pleased to have Accord Final on Pratt’s campus, near the library. She says she met Pratt President Thomas F. Schuttle about five years ago and quickly became impressed with the work being done at Pratt. Visiting the campus, she says, “I found I loved the school and was pleased to do something for Pratt.”
She also says that lending Accord Final to Pratt fits with her mission to preserve Arman’s legacy. “What better way to have the piece at a school where young people can appreciate it and be inspired by it.”
Photo by Diana Pau