BiographyBorn 1966, New York City


TOM SACHS is a sculptor, probably best known for his elaborate recreations of various Modern icons, all of them masterpieces of engineering and design of one kind or another. 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.

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. Equally, if not more important, is his total embrace of "showing his work." 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.

The reward for work is more work.

--Mark van de Walle

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1989 BA, Bennington College, Bennington, Vermont

1987 Architectural Association, London

Selected Exhibitions

2015 Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective 1999-2015, The Contemporary Austin

2014 AMERICAN HANDMADE PAINTINGS Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, Paris

2013 BARBIE SLAVE SHIP, Biennale de Lyon


2012 SPACE PROGRAM: MARS Park Avenue Armory, New York

2011 DRAWINGS Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris

  WORK Sperone Westwater, New York

2010 LE CORBUSIER INSTALLATION, Venice Biennial of Architecture

2008 BRONZE COLLECTION Lever House, Baldwin Gallery, Thaddaeus Ropac

  ANIMALS Sperone Westwater, New York

2007 SPACE PROGRAM Gagosian, Beverly Hills

  ISLANDIA Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, Paris

  LOGJAM Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines

2006 TOM SACHS Fondazione Prada, Milan

  TOM SACHS - SURVEY Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo

2005 McDONALDS Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo

2004 CONNECTICUT Sperone Westwater, New York

2003 NUTSY'S Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin

2001 WHITE Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, Paris

1999 HAUTE BRICOLAGE Mary Boone Gallery, New York

1997 TOM SACHS Galleria Gian Enzo Sperone, Rome

1995 CULTURAL PROSTHETICS Morris-Healy Gallery, New York