San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
About the Lecture
A lot has been made of the conceptual underpinnings of Tom Sachs' sculpture and installation art. His sampling of capitalist culture in his subject matter—remixing, dubbing, and spitting it back out—results in transformed and transforming imagery. His complete embrace of "showing his work" leaves all the steps that led up to the end result on display: seams, joints, screws, foamcore, and plywood. In Sachs' work, nothing is erased, sanded away, or rendered invisible. His pieces are never finished. Like any good engineering project, everything can be stripped down, stripped out, redesigned, and improved.
In an early show, he made Knoll office furniture out of phone books and duct tape. Later, he recreated Unite d'Habitation by Le Corbusier (1952) using only foamcore and a glue gun. Other notable projects by Sachs have included his versions of various Cold War masterpieces, such as the Apollo 11's 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 made his own versions of that, too: a McDonald's of plywood, glue, and assorted kitchen appliances, and Hello Kitty and her friends in materials ranging from foamcore to bronze.
Sachs' recent project SPACE PROGRAM: MARS (2012) at the Park Avenue Armory included a four-week mission to Mars that recast the 55,000 square foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall as an immersive space odyssey with an installation of dynamic and meticulously crafted sculptures.
Tom Sachs is a sculptor, installation artist, and painter known for his innovative renaming, examination, and questioning of icons of capitalist culture and systems of daily life. Sachs' work has been included in many exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad, and is in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo. Major solo exhibitions include the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (2009), Fondazione Prada, Milan (2006), Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin (2003), the Bohen Foundation, New York (2002), and SITE Santa Fe (1999). Born in New York in 1966, Sachs studied at the Architectural Association in London and received a B.A. from Bennington College, Vermont, in 1989. He currently lives and works in New York.
About the Visiting Artists and Scholars Lecture Series
SFAI’s Visiting Artists and Scholars (VAS) lecture series provides students and faculty—as well as the wider Bay Area public—with direct exposure to major figures in contemporary global art and culture. It creates an open forum through which SFAI’s students are challenged to go beyond basic canonical approaches to the study of art and to discover a global perspective that encourages conceptual and comparative approaches. In addition to the public lectures they give, visiting artists and scholars regularly engage with students in an immediate and active way, by teaching intensives or by participating in seminars, critiques, or colloquia.
All VAS lectures begin at 7:30 pm in the Lecture Hall on SFAI’s 800 Chestnut Street campus. For a complete schedule of SFAI's lectures and events, please visit www.sfai.edu/events
SFAI’s exhibitions and public programs—a component of which is the Visiting Artists and Scholars Lecture Series—are supported in part by the Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund. The Winfred Johnson Clive Foundation Distinguished Visiting Fellowships in Interdisciplinary Painting Practices are funded by the Winifred Johnson Clive Foundation.
When & Where
San Francisco Art Institute
Founded in 1871, San Francisco Art Institute is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious schools of higher education in contemporary art.