Artist Tom Sachs takes his SPACE PROGRAM to the next level with a four week mission to Mars that recasts the 55,000 square foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall as an immersive space odyssey with an installation of dynamic and meticulously crafted sculptures. Using his signature bricolage technique and simple materials that comprise the daily surrounds of his New York studio, Sachs engineers the component parts of the mission—exploratory vehicles, mission control, launch platforms, suiting stations, special effects, recreational amenities, and Mars landscape—exposing as much the process of their making as the complexities of the culture they reference.
SPACE PROGRAM: MARS is a demonstration of all that is necessary for survival, scientific exploration, and colonization in extraterrestrial environs: from food delivery systems and entertainment to agriculture and human waste disposal. Sachs and his studio team of thirteen will man the installation, regularly demonstrating the myriad procedures, rituals, and tasks of their mission. The team will also “lift off” to Mars several times throughout their residency at the Armory, with real-time demonstrations playing out various narratives from take-off to landing, including planetary excursions, their first walk on the surface of Mars, collecting scientific samples, and photographing the surrounding landscape.
Beneath the compulsive tinkerer’s mentality and ribald wit that permeate SPACE PROGRAM: MARS, and Sachs’ work at-large, is a conceptual underpinning that addresses serious and profound issues—namely the commodification of abstract concepts such as originality, shock, newness, and mystery—expressing them in the personal and physical terms of production and process. With the recent shuttering of NASA’s shuttle program and the shifting focus towards privatized space travel, SPACE PROGRAM: MARS takes on timely significance within Sachs’s work, which provokes reflection on the haves and have-nots, utopian follies and dystopian realities, while asking barbed questions of modern creativity that relate to conception, production, consumption, and circulation.
About Tom Sachs
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’ SPACE PROGRAM first launched in 2007 with a mission to the moon at Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles, inspired by and reimagining man’s first landing on the moon in 1969.
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.
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SPACE PROGRAM: MARS is organized by Park Avenue Armory and Creative Time and is curated by Park Avenue Armory Consulting Artistic Director Kristy Edmunds and Creative Time President and Artistic Director Anne Pasternak.
SPACE PROGRAM: MARS is sponsored by Lighting Science. Additional support provided by Bloomberg, the Cogut Family Foundation, the Dorothea Leonhardt Fund of the Communities Foundation of Texas, GLM, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, Park Avenue Spring, the Ronald & Jo Carole Lauder Foundation, Sperone Westwater, the Wagner Family Foundation, and XCOR Aerospace / Space Expedition Corporation. Generous individual support is provided by Shelley Fox Aarons and Philip E. Aarons, Jill Brienza and Nick Daraviras, Joanne Leonhardt Cassullo, Beth Rudin DeWoody, Kate Engelbrecht and Jed Walentas, Honor Fraser and Stavros Merjos, Ken Kuchin, Nancy and Robert Magoon, Gael Neeson and Stefan Edlis, Amy and John Phelan, Jennifer and David Stockman, and Elizabeth Swig.