Tom Sachs: Rocket Man to Renaissance Man

Tom Sachs: Rocket Man to Renaissance Man

Seoul — Artist Tom Sachs is now accustomed to people suggesting that the way his studio runs has some similarities to running a cult. “A cult, when you look up, means a group of people who have unique and common values,” Sax said in a recent afternoon interview. “Everyone is welcome to leave whenever they want.”

Sachs, 55, has stopped finishing his show “Tom Sachs Space Program: Indoctrination.” At Art Sonje Center, one of the three solo exhibitions he was preparing in the Korean capital. To do that all, he boarded five members of a 25-member team based in New York. They were identified by the saxophone brand apparel and Nike (he just designed a sold-out model, a re-release will arrive in August).

Art Sonje visitors learn some of the studio’s basic principles (called “codes”), keep a to-do list on time, and pay fines for various violations (towards the party fund). ), You have the opportunity to take the test. they. After completing the quiz about such rules, successful students will become members of Sax’s “Space Program”. Those who fail can watch a 10-point video and other re-education material (all very interesting) and try again. “We are teaching Korea the values ​​of the studio,” Sax said cheerfully.

The close cohesion nurtured by the sax allowed his cult to undertake many years of ambitious projects, such as a series of simulated space missions performed in museums and galleries. They went to the Moon from Gagosian in Beverly Hills in 2007 and to Mars from Park Avenue Armory in 2012. I was always paying close attention to the details. (The landing sculptures on Mars were mainly made of plywood and screws.) Many “made their own moon landers,” Sax says. Cantilever landing gear.

Sonnie uses spacesuits, spacecraft models, and cameras, monitors, and weird fog machines to subtly simulate the rocket launch and travel segments his group made throughout the solar system. There is a sailed diorama (in a performance towards Earth)). These intricate pieces are awe-inspiring, especially because they were made by hand.

Underneath the charisma of the saxophone invention is nostalgic greed. Decorated with the American flag and the NASA logo, they nod when the country can dream, when the country can pursue its grand goals. Their rugged do-it-yourself construction is also an implicit counter-argument to the obsolescence of the built-in of so many products today. “His criticism is not direct,” said Kim Sung-jun, artistic director of Art Sonje, who hosted the show. “It’s a detour, and it has humor.” (When asked about the source of DIY sensibilities, Sax said his grandfather’s father, who grew up during depression, was a “shabby man” on the lower east side of a hard scrubble. “He went home with four punctured tires, Sax said; his grandfather helped them patch them.)

Billionaires have embarked on their own space program in recent years, but “I’m not interested in their little penis contest,” Sax said. His interest is earthly and positive. “I’m ruining this and looking for a new home, so I won’t go to another world,” he said. “You go to other worlds, so you can better understand your resources here.”

The art of the saxophone celebrates what can be achieved when people get together, roll up their sleeves, and refuse to quit. “The reward for a good job is more work,” he likes to say. Recently, he has favorably accepted NFTs and is calling on collectors to devise a three-part digital rocket. Each component bears a brand insignia such as Budweiser, Tiffany and Campbell’s Soup. They are probably transmissions about how identities are formed or aspired through consumerism. Sax and his company assemble a toy projectile, fire it and ship it to buyers. “If you have doubts that it’s not performance art, making 500 rockets is a durable art,” he said. (A picture of his pop rocket can be seen at the Seoul branch of gallerist Tadaeus Ropak until August 20th.)

The mainline art type shows off the aesthetic value of many NFT works, and like the saxophone, he was enthusiastic about his experience in this area. “I finally found my people,” he said. “This is the first grassroots art movement I actively participated in.” At the Oil Tank Culture Park in Seoul, his team launched about 20 rockets for a significant crowd.

Rockets take pride in their strange work. Elm Shah, the studio manager for the saxophone, said he had recovered everything he had blown into the air. “There is one rocket that is partially missing,” she said. “It was Chanel’s nose cone, and it’s on the Seine. I think it’s kind of poetic.” One was caught on the top of a tree during a launch in Chicago a few weeks ago. The four-hour rescue mission included a drone and a tree-climbing attempt.

“In the end, we went to The Home Depot, got a saw for the ladder, and cut off the branches,” Sax said last week.

After about 16 launch events last year, Sax finishes them “so that we can focus on the next chapter that builds the world.” “We are building a planet in Mona.” On its Metaverse platform, collectors can transform the NFT Martian rocks created by the saxophone into a digital world. This is the process he called “transubstantiation.” (The cutoff for creating a physical rocket is midnight on July 24th. Digital ones can still be assembled.)

Naked commercialism in the crypto universe is a feature, not a bug, for the saxophone. “I think smart contracts (Web3) are really about money. It’s an art of faith if everyone is an artist and includes bankers,” he said. Recently, that faith has been tested. NFT sales fell and Bitcoin and Ethereum prices plummeted. Sax said the recession “will get rid of all the trash. Only artists who are willing to do it to do it will win.”

Meanwhile, reports of crypto fraud and theft continue to grow. “Negation is very easy, delicious, and fun,” Sax said. But that is not his view of the world. He comes across as a true believer. “I don’t care about that,” he said. “I’m interested in getting the world to my liking. That’s the only way we can survive.”

Sax clearly enjoys the opportunity to work across the boundaries of the contemporary art industry. There, “I believe there is a really unpleasant, mean elitism to me, and even there to hide the intangible, malformed ideas,” he said. A Connecticut teenager who frequently performed hardcore punk shows in the 1980s, he is now keen on populist crossovers that create productive friction. He designed an unlicensed Chanel guillotine and a very real Nike. The athletic company called his new stripped shoes “more motivated sneakers.” Sneakers without me. Sax describes it as “the sculpture at your feet,” and he wants access to his cosmic sculpture as well. “You don’t need wall text to explain,” he said.

What is the most pleasing piece of saxophone in Seoul until September 11th? A survey of 13 homemade boomboxes (many of which he created) at Hybe Insight, a museum space at the headquarters of Hybe, the self-proclaimed “entertainment lifestyle platform” behind BTS. They are impressive appliances, made of wood and paint, and decorated with Hello Kitty figurines and other trinkets. In some cases, the clock face markings are hand-painted and the wiring is visible, proudly showing how they were made. “I named them ear sculptures,” said show curator Yeowoon Lee.

Most boomboxes Plays a mix of about 24 hours edited by multimedia artist and DJ Nemo Librizzi. It corresponds to “a story of how freedom was found in American music, mostly by marginalized classes,” Librizzi said on the phone from New York. There are blues, gospel, jazz and rap. The day after the show began, Little Junior Parker’s “Funny How Time Slips Away” filled the space with young people taking pictures and becoming fans of the saxophone.

Sax started building speaker systems when he was young. It was also when he started launching rockets. He exchanged a copy of Led Zeppelin’s album “Physical Graffiti” for a stolen car stereo and wired it to his family’s old Plymouth Volale station wagon. “I understood it myself, just out of desire,” he said. Its witty evolved into the art of exhilarating bricolage, the art of functional objects that are greater than the sum of their articulated pieces.

At one point, Sachs said, “If bricolage is everything, if it’s a little more open to defining what it means,” he mentioned the concept of kluge. “When something doesn’t go as planned,” he said, is a term in the scientific community of bricolage. “But there is a subtle line between Kruge and doing his best with what you get, and I think that’s what we all are trying to do.”


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