Tom Sachs

United States 1966

Tom Sachs
Tom Sachs
United States
August 21, 2014
Jean is researcher and author for Widewalls.

Tom Sachs is an American contemporary artist and sculptor best known for his elaborate recreations of various Modern icons, all of them masterpieces of engineering and design of one kind or another. Sachs re-envisions modern iconography, popular and industrial inventions of the 20th century. This contemporary revision of the nativity scene received great attention  and demonstrated Sachs’ interest in the phenomena of consumerism, branding, and the cultural fetishization of products.

Born in 1966 in New York, he studied architecture at London’s Architectural Association School of Architecture. Around 1990 he found a studio in the disappearing machinery district downtown. His studio, Allied Cultural Prosthetics, took its name from the previous tenant—Allied Machine Exchange—implying that contemporary culture had become nothing but a prosthetic for real culture.

In an early show he made Knoll office furniture out of phone books and duct tape; later, he recreated Le Corbusier’s 1952 Unité d’Habitation using only foamcore and a glue gun. Other projects have included his versions of various Cold War masterpieces, like the Apollo 11 Lunar Excursion Module, and the bridge of the battleship USS Enterprise. And because no engineering project is more complex and pervasive than the corporate ecosystem, he’s done versions of those, too, including a McDonald’s he built using plywood, glue, assorted kitchen appliances. He’s also done Hello Kitty and her friends in materials ranging from foamcore to bronze.

In fact, Tom Sachs doesn’t refrain from taking major luxury brands and ripping them out of their contexts. The themes central to his universe focus on American culture and society, which he treats with a heavy dose of humor and sarcasm. Attentive to detail and the finished result, he executes his work using both high and low materials. Most often, his models are created out of foam board, and some of his sculptures are cast in bronze.

A lot has been made of the conceptual underpinnings of these sculptures: how Sachs’ sampling capitalist culture, remixing, dubbing and spitting it back out again, so that the results are transformed and transforming. All the steps that led up to the end result are always on display. On a practical level, this means that all seams, joints, screws or for that matter anything holding stuff together, like foamcore and plywood, are left exposed. Nothing is erased, sanded away, or rendered invisible. On a more philosophical level, this means that nothing Sachs makes is ever finished. Like any good engineering project, everything can always be stripped down, stripped out, redesigned and improved.

Tom Sachs lives and works in New York.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2014American Handmade PaintingsGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, ParisSolo
20145 Year Anniversary Group ShowEver Gold Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2013STORE8/ Art Gallery/ Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, JapanSolo
2013Booster, Art Sound MachineMarta Herford Museum, Herford, GermanyGroup
2013Piston Head: Artists Engage the AutomobileVenus Over Manhattan, Miami, Florida.Group
2013Meanwhile…Suddenly and Then12th Lyon Biennale, Lyon, FranceGroup
2013EngagementArtzuid, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsGroup
2013From Picasso to Koons: The Artist at JewelerBass Museum of Art, MiamiGroup
2013DisasterGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, FranceGroup
2013Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker CultureThe Bata Shoe Museum, TorontoGroup
2013La Derniere VagueLa Friche de Belle Mai, Marseille, FranceGroup
2013Second SeasonMUSEUM, New YorkGroup
2013Merci Mercy980 Madison Ave 3rd Floor, New YorkGroup
2012Nautical Challenge and Other VoodooBaldwin Gallery, Aspen, COSolo
2012Tom Sachs Space Program: MARSPark Avenue Armory, New YorkSolo
2012Untitled (Giotto’s O)Sperone Westwater, Lugano, SwitzerlandGroup
2012For the Martian ChroniclesL&M Arts, Los AngelesGroup
2012White: Marble and Paint, From Antiquity to NowRobilant & Voena, London, EnglandGroup
2012Regarding Warhol: Sixty Years, Fifty ArtistsMetropolitan Museum of Art, New YorkGroup
2012Garden of EdenPalais de Tokyo, ParisGroup
2012to keep us in the dark ages of colorDIEAUSSTELLUNGSSTRASSE, ViennaGroup
2012St. Moritz Art MastersBadrutt’s Palace Hotel, St Moritz, SwitzerlandGroup
2012Vik Muniz, Tom SachsGalerie Gian Enzo Sperone, Sent, Swtizerland.Group
2012Transmission LA: AV ClubMuseum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.Group
2012Invitational Exhibition of Visual ArtsThe American Academy of Arts and Letters, New YorkGroup
2012Brucennial 2012New YorkGroup
2012Portraits / Self-Portraits from the 16th to the 21st CenturySperone Westwater, New YorkGroup
2011Tom Sachs WORKSperone Westwater, New York, NYSolo
2011Tom Sachs- A Random Selection of Significant Drawings 2003-2010Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, ParisSolo
2011Astrup Fearnley CollectionBienal Pavilion, Sao Paulo Bienal, Sao Paulo, BrazilGroup
2011Fresh KillsAnonymous Gallery, Mexico CityGroup
2011NASA / ART: 50 Years of ExplorationNational Air and Space Museum, Washington D.C.Group
2011Space. About a DreamKunsthalle Wien, Vienna, AustriaGroup
2011Happy Tech- Macchine dal Volto UmanoPalazzo Re Enzo, Bologna, ItalyGroup
2010Hunters and GatherersGian Enzo Sperone, Sent, SwitzerlandGroup
2010Popular: Brands, Symbols, Icons 1960-2010Galerie Thomas Modern, Munich, GermanyGroup
2010Untitled (No Show)Spencer Brownstone, New York, NYGroup
2010Divine Comedy ExhibitionSotheby’s, New York, NYGroup
2010Trunk Show,Colette, Paris, FranceGroup
2010Sisley Art Project- The Andy Warhol MuseumPalazzo Bovara, Milan, ItalyGroup
201012th International Architecture ExhibitionVenice Biennale, Venice, ItalyGroup
2010artCRUSHAspen Art Museum, Aspen, ColoradoGroup
2010Wings IIDeutsche Bank Kunstraum, Salzburg, AustriaGroup
2010JOYRIDEDash Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2010Robot DreamsThe Museum Tinguely, Basel, SwitzerlandGroup
2010Make Yourself at Home7Eleven Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2010XXL1000 Eventi, Milan, ItalyGroup
2010Wings: The Wing in Contemporary ArtGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, AustriaGroup
2010Second MainMusee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, FranceGroup
2009Tom Sachs: CamerasAldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CTSolo
2009SkateboardsGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, AustriaSolo
2009Bike Rides: The ExhibitionAldrich Contemporary Art Museum, 26Group
2009Small packagesArt Production Fund LAB/American Standard Gallery, New YorkGroup
2009StagesGalerie Emmanuel Perrotin, Paris, FranceGroup
2009A House Is Not A HomeBC Magazine, Paris, FranceGroup
2009Sculpture ShowSperone Westwater, New YorkGroup
2009Words are DiamondsLaleh June Galerie, Basel, SwitzerlandGroup
2009SIGN/AGE: Part Three: Fight the PowerArmand Bartos Fine Art, New York, NYGroup
2009Better HistoryThe American Standard Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2009Schizmo10 Vyner Street, London, UKGroup
2009The Garden At 4AMGana Art Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2008Gold & PlywoodGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, ParisSolo
2008Tom Sachs: Bronze CollectionGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, ParisSolo
2008Tom Sachs: Bronze CollectionBaldwin Gallery, Aspen, COSolo
2008Tom Sachs: Bronze CollectionLever House, New York, NYSolo
2008Tom Sachs: AnimalsSperone Westwater, New York, NYSolo
2008The American Standard Gallery (Self-Titled Show)The American Standard Gallery, Miami, FAGroup
2008The Lines of the Hand (Las Lineas De La Mano)University Museum of Contemporary Art of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Coyoacan, MexicoGroup
2008Wall Rockets: Contemporary Artists and Ed RuschaFLAG Art Foundation, New York, NYGroup
2008Summer ExhibitionSperone Westwater, New York, NYGroup
2008I Won't Grow UpCheim & Read, New York, NYGroup
2008Dear VeloBicycle Film Festival and Partners & Spade, New York, NYGroup
2007Space ProgramGagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, CASolo
2007Tom Sachs: Logjam tourDes Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IASolo
2007Tom Sachs: IslandiaGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, ParisSolo
2007Contemporary, Cool, and CollectedThe Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, North CarolinaGroup
2007Delicious: Sylvie Fleury, Bernhard Martin, Tom SachsGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, AustriaGroup
2007Timer: Intimita/IntimacyL’arte Contemporanea Si Guarda Dentro, Milan, ItalyGroup
2007Disorder in the HouseVanhaerents Art Collection, BelgiumGroup
2007Branded and on DisplayKrannert Art Museum, University of IllinoisGroup
2007Urbana-ChampaignChampaign, ILGroup
2006Tom SachsFondazione Prada, Milan, ItalySolo
2006Tom Sachs – Survey: America, Modernism, Fashion Astrup FearnleyMuseet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo, NorwaySolo
2006Fantastic Politics: Art in Times of CrisisNasjonalmuseet For Kunst Arkitektur, Og Design, NorwayGroup
2006Freeze! A Selection of Works from a New York CollectionRobilant + Voena + Sperone, LondonGroup
2006Only the Paranoid SurviveHudson Valley Center for Contemporary ArtGroup
2006Bucolica: The Contemporary LandscapeGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac Salzburg, AustriaGroup
2006New York, New York: Fifty Years of Art, Architecture, Cinema, Performance, Photograph and VideoGrimaldi Forum, MonacoGroup
2006Summer ExhibitionSperone Westwater, New York, NYGroup
2006This is America! Contemporary Art and American PhotorealismCentral Museum, Utrecht, NetherlandsGroup
2005VanityGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, AustriaSolo
2005Tom Sachs: McDonaldsTomio Koyama Gallery, TokyoSolo
2005Superstars: The Celebrity Factor, From Warhol to Madonna (Superstars -Das Prinzip Prominenz. Von Warhol bis Madonna)Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna, AustriaGroup
2005HighlightsJohn Berggreun Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2005ex.05.01.06103The Cartin Collection, Hartford, CTGroup
2005Return to Space (Ruckkehr ins All)Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, GermanyGroup
2005A Knock at the DoorSouth Street Seaport Museum Melville Gallery and Cooper Union, New York, NYGroup
2005Minimalism and After IV: New AcquisitionsDaimler Contemporary Art Collection, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2005Extreme AbstractionAlbright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NYGroup
2005Herron Sculpture Biennial InvitationalHerron Galleries, Herron School of Art and Design, Indianapolis, INGroup
2005HomestyleLeo Castelli Gallery, New York, NYGroup
20053D - Die Dritte DimensionGalerie Haas & Fuchs, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2004Tom Sachs: Dedicated to the Memory of Ben Plummer 1968-2004Baldwin Gallery, Aspen, COSolo
2004Tom Sachs: Private Wealth ManagementKunstraum Deutsche Bank, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, AustriaSolo
2004ConnecticutSperone Westwater, New York, NYSolo
2004…Surprise!Galleria Cardi, Milan, ItalyGroup
2004Will Boys Be Boys? Questioning Adolescent Masculinity in Contemporary ArtThe Salina Art Center, Salina, KSGroup
2004Recent Acquisitions: Contemporary Works (Acquisitions Recentes. Oeuvre Cotemporaines)Musee National d'Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, FranceGroup
2004Arti & ArchitetturaPalazzo Ducale, Genova, ItalyGroup
2004Terminal 5John Fitzgerald Kennedy International Airport, Queens, NYGroup
2004Territorio Livre26 Bienal de Sao Paulo, Pavilhao Ciccillo Matarazzo, Parque do Ibirapuera, Sao Paulo, BrazilGroup
2003Holiday SpectacularPrinted Matter, Inc., New York, NYSolo
2003Tom Sachs, New PaintingsGalleria Cardi, Milan, ItalySolo
2003Nutsy’sDeutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, GermanySolo
2003Disaster, (Featuring Andy Warhol)Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, ParisSolo
2003Nutsy’sThe Bohen Foundation, New York, NYSolo
2003Painting LessonGalleria Cardi & Co, Milan, ItalyGroup
2003Greetings from New York: A Painting ShowGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, AustriaGroup
2003Perpetual Bliss: Form, Symbol and Material in Contemporary SculptureGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, ParisGroup
2003Materials, Metaphors, Narratives: Work by Six Contemporary ArtistsAlbright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NYGroup
2003Everyday Aesthetics - Works from the Astrup Fearnley CollectionAstrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo, NorwayGroup
2003Skulptur 03Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac and Max Gandolph Bibliothek Universitat Salzburg, Salzburg, AustriaGroup
2003Teddybar & Co - Searching for the Myth in Art (Teddybar & Co - Die Suche Nach Mythen in der Kunst)Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna, AustriaGroup
2003Bull's Eye: Works from the Astrup Fearnley Collection (Pletskud: Vaerker Fra Astrup Fearnley Samlingen)ARKEN Museum for Moerne Kunst, Ishoj, DenmarkGroup
2002Le Corbusier B SidesMario Diacono Gallery, Boston, MASolo
2002The Art of the Game: From Klee to Boetti (L'Arte Del Gioco. Da Klee A Boetti)Museo Archeologico Regionale, Aosta, ItalyGroup
2002Two Zero Zero TwoDESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art Athens, GreeceGroup
2002SK8 On The WallRocket Gallery, Tokyo, JapanGroup
2002Illegal Art: Freedom of Expression in the Corporate Age313 Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2002Mirroring Evil: Nazi Imagery/Recent ArtThe Jewish Museum New York, NYGroup
2002Outdoor: A Group ExhibitionSaint Petersberg, FLGroup
2002POPjack: Warhol to MurakamiMuseum of Contemporary Art, Denver, COGroup
2002Separations: Manufacturing Art/Skateboard222 Gallery, PhiladelphiaGroup
2001SelectorGalleria Cardi, Milan, ItalySolo
2001WhiteGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, ParisSolo
2001Lamps, Bitch Lounge & Quarter ScrewsA/D Gallery, New York, NYSolo
2001Camera Works: The Photographic Impulse in Contemporary ArtMarianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2001Art at the Edge of the LawAldrich Museum of Contemporary Art Ridgefield, CTGroup
2001Andy Warhol KnivesSperone Westwater, NYCGroup
2001My Reality: Contemporary Art and the Culture of Japanese AnimationDes Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IAGroup
2001Ironical InstinctGalleria Cardi, Milan, ItalyGroup
2001Making the MakingApex Art, New York, NYGroup
2000American BricolageSperone Westwater, New York, NYSolo
2000Test Module Five (Urinal)Tomio Koyama Gallery, TokyoSolo
2000DefenderBaldwin Gallery, Aspen, COSolo
2000ToysKagan Martos Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2000Fabula: Consumer Media and Contemporary ArtCranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MIGroup
2000Expressions in Wood/The Wood ShowMax Fish, New York, NYGroup
2000Demonstration Room: Ideal HouseMuseo Alejandro Otero, Caracas VenezuelaGroup
2000American BricolageSperone Westwater, New YorkGroup
2000Hand-Made in the U.S.A.Sprovieri Gallery, London, UKGroup
1999Haute BricolageMary Boone Gallery, New York, NYSolo
1999W.W.J.B.D. and Other Smash Hits (Neue Werke)Galerie Thaddaeus, Ropac, Salzburg, AustriaSolo
1999StairmasterMont Blanc Factory, Hamburg, GermanySolo
1999Burn Baby BurnMont Blanc Store, New York, NYSolo
1999Tom SachsMario Diacono Gallery, Boston, MASolo
1999SONY OutsiderSITE Sante Fe, Santa Fe, NMSolo
1999Creativity is the EnemyGalerie Thaddaeus Ropac, ParisSolo
1999Making Change: 100 Artists Interpret the Tzedakah BoxThe Jewish Museum, San Francisco, CAGroup
1999Readymade ProjectWunderkammer, London, UKGroup
1999Dysfunctional SculptureCenter Galleries, Detroit, MIGroup
1999Preparator's PickWeatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NCGroup
1999PersuasionLombard-Fried Gallery, New YorkGroup
1999The Stroke: An Overview of Contemporary PaintingExit Art, New York, NYGroup
1999Comfort Zone: Furniture by ArtistUBS Art Gallery (formerly Paine Webber Art Gallery), New York, NYGroup
1999Food for ThoughtNew Jersey Center for the Visual Arts, Summit, NJGroup
1999Material Perception/Celebrating Art and Architecture: Creating a Place for PeopleTrizecHahn Office Properties, Bank of America Plaza Charlotte, NCGroup
1999PoliceAlleged Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1999Paper: A RetrospectiveHolly Solomon Gallery, New YorkGroup
1999Coup d'EtatAlleged Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1998Creativity is the EnemyThomas Healy Gallery, New York, NYSolo
1998HedgeThomas Healy Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1998Thinking Aloudtour: Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, UKGroup
1998He Swam Down, AwayAudiello Fine Art, New York, NYGroup
1997Tom Sachs: Cultural ProstheticsGalleria Gian Enzo Sperone, RomeSolo
1997Cultural Prosthetics John Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CASolo
1997Art on Paper 1997: Thirty-Third Annual Exhibition of Art on PaperWeatherspoon Art Gallery, University of North Carolina Greensboro, NCGroup
1997New YorkGalleri F15, Moss, NorwayGroup
1997Icons: Magnets of MeaningThe San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CAGroup
1997Road Show ’97Bronwyn Keenan Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1997Do Not Disturb (No Molestar)Hotel Ribot, Caracas, VenezuelaGroup
1997Summer Group ShowSperone Westwater Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1997Group ShowJohn Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
1996Tom SachsMario Diacono Gallery, Boston, MASolo
1996The Subverted ObjectUbu Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1996American DreaminLinda Kirkland Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1996Shred Sled SymposiumThread Waxing Space, New York, NYGroup
1995Cultural ProstheticsMorris-Healy Gallery, New York, NYSolo
1995Tom SachsWindow display, Whitney Museum of American Art, Next Door, New York, NY.Solo
1995OccupatoBennett Roberts Fine Art, Los Angles, CAGroup
1995Inaugural ExhibitionPaul Morris Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1994ICCF WindowsBarney's, New York, NYGroup
1994International Contemporary Furniture FairNew York, NYGroup
1994Red Windows: Benefit for the Little Red School HouseBarney's, New York, NYGroup
1994The Bong ShowAlleged Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1994Pathetic MasterworksAlleged Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1993Watch Me WorkAllied Cultural Prosthetics, New York, NY.Solo
1993Minimal TricksAlleged Gallery, New York, NYGroup
199210 StepsMuranushi Lederman Inc. & Horodner Romley Gallery, New York, NYGroup
1992ExhibitionAllied Cultural Prosthetics, New York, NYGroup
1991Denied Access Parking LotL.A. Eats, Los Angeles, CaliforniaGroup