Press Release  March 3, 2021

Acquavella Galleries Host Exhibition Tom Sachs: Work

Photos © Silvia Ros.

Tom Sachs, Installation view of Tom Sachs: Work, 2021. Acquavella Galleries, Palm Beach, Florida.

Palm Beach, FL — Acquavella Galleries is pleased to present Tom Sachs: Work, the artist’s first solo exhibition in Florida. Tom Sachs: Work emphasizes the artist’s desire to revisit long-held themes and ideas over decades, revising and expanding upon them. He refers to these processes as “multicycles,” a term coined by gallerist Mario Diacono, while the ritual of “work”—both a core element for Sachs as well as a recurring theme in his exhibitions—is itself a multicycle.

“Some artists work on a series, complete it, and move on. I work in a ‘Multicycle,’” Sachs describes.  “Meaning I work on a series for decades, then go back to it and expand on it. I’ll work on paintings, I’ll work on models, totems, fetishes, boomboxes, ceramics. When I say models or fetishes I mean my  representation of things that exist in the world as a form of sympathetic magic, as a form of channeling  their power; whether that’s a Mondrian or a Glock.”

Photos © Silvia Ros.

Tom Sachs, Orange Lobster, 2020. Steel, spray paint. 3.5 x 20.25 x 7 inches.

Evolving simultaneously, Sachs’ multicycles have been in progress for nearly four decades, growing and combining within his works both practically and thematically. His paintings are synthesized from three major methods—conventional painting, wood-burning or pyrography, and marquetry—often condensing multiple elements in each work.

In turn, layered themes of popular culture are prevalent throughout— boomboxes and music, space, Americana, and imagery from branded packaging and logos. The history and variety of audio equipment—ranging from pristine high-end consumer arrays to the culture of monolithic Jamaican sound systems— has been an obsession of Sachs’ throughout his life. The three boomboxes in this exhibition are representative of an activity, event, or ritual.

Varying in shape, size, and functionality, the boomboxes on view are cobbled together from high-fidelity stereo components, plywood boxes, and stoneware. Sound systems have always been a part of Sachs’ experience, and are a necessity for the ritual of work and borne from the artist’s love of music. They are a steady progression though the philosophy remains unchanged.

TDK C-90F is a new marquetry painting depicting a composite of a 1969 TDK brand C-90F cassette tape. Antiquated yet still viable, the magnetic tape of cassettes is the only audio medium available that allows the user to stop the device and hold its place in perpetuity.

Photos © Silvia Ros.

Tom Sachs, Installation view of Tom Sachs: Work, 2021. Acquavella Galleries, Palm Beach, Florida.

Sachs views this technology as having a supernatural quality—it will always start exactly where it was last stopped. TDK C-90F employs this feeling of transcendence through the pyrographic lettering on the plywood surface, further emphasizing the simplified case design and oversized TDK logo.

Tea Set is a new sculpture invoking Sachs’ personal connection to the traditional tea ceremony as an amalgam of the Cha-do experience and 4 o’clock English tea. A Japanese porcelain vessel, or Chawan, is emblazoned with the NASA logo.

Small cups for serving, known as copitas, also sit atop an unadorned plywood and aluminum tray, reinforced with fiberglass and epoxy resin, the same materials employed in the manufacture of spaceships. They are joined by bowls for creamer and sugar as well as small spoons based on the McDonald’s coffee stirrer of the 1980s.

These items prioritize the sensory and spiritual experience of tea, and its role in both traditional and contemporary rituals. Each item in the tea set, handmade in English porcelain, leaves the artist’s fingerprints and imperfections visible. The stirrers, cast in sterling silver with gold plated McDonald’s arches, are accompanied by a smallholder reading “clean”  and “dirty,” made in resin-ware, Sachs’ version of lacquerware.

This exhibition delves into the immortality of tradition, with works rendered in Sachs’ own way to intentionally highlight their processes and imperfections. Sachs meticulously and continuously revisits his chosen themes, rebirthing them into an infinite array of species who cross-pollinate and strengthen his philosophy that, “The reward for good work is more work.”

Photos © Silvia Ros.

Tom Sachs, Detail Installation view of Tom Sachs: Work, 2021. Acquavella Galleries, Palm Beach, Florida.

Tom Sachs was born in 1966 in New York. His genre-defying mixed media work, often recreations of modern icons using everyday materials, show all of the work that goes into producing an object—a reversal of modernization’s trend towards products with cleaner, simpler, and more perfect edges. Sachs’ paintings and sculptures are conspicuously handmade; lovingly cobbled together from plywood, resin, steel, and ceramic. The scars and imperfections in the work tell the story of how they came into being and remove them from the realm of miraculous conception. His studio team functions like a teaching hospital or cult, that worships plywood, and an ethos of transparency.

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, Paris, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo. Major solo exhibitions include the The Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery (2019), The Nasher Sculpture Center (2017), The Brooklyn Museum and The Noguchi Museum (2016), Contemporary Austin (2015), Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (2009), Fondazione Prada, Milan (2006), Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin and SITE Santa Fe (1999). Sachs lives and works in New York City.

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