Tom Sachs '89

Image of Tom Sachs

A Knoll office recreated using phone books and duct tape, a modernist architectural icon by Le Corbusier made of foam core and a glue gun, a McDonald’s built of plywood and kitchen appliances: the sculptures of Tom Sachs ’89 sample and remix capitalist culture by stripping engineering and design to its bare bones.

Sachs caught the attention of the art world in 1994, when he created “Hello Kitty Nativity”—a Christmas window display for the department store Barneys, in which he replaced the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus with Hello Kitty dolls, the three kings with Bart Simpson figures, and crested the stable with a McDonald’s logo. Since then he has made a slew of memorable pieces. For Cultural Prosthetics, his first major solo show, he created a Hermès hand grenade, presented in a cute little Hermès box. In SONY Outsider he made a full-scale model of the bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki. In Space Program: Mars he performed an imaginary manned exhibition to Mars that included a 23-foot-tall plywood version of the Apollo Lunar Module and an elaborate “mission control” complete with more than three-dozen computer screens.

His work has been included in many exhibitions in the United States and abroad, and has been collected by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Centre Georges Pompidou, San Francisco MOMA, and the Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo. Major solo exhibitions include SITE Santa Fe (1999), the Bohen Foundation, New York (2002), Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin (2003), Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo, and Fondazione Prada, Milan (2006).

Photograph © Arrested Motion