Tom Sachs exhibits its furniture in the United States for the first time in more than 20 years
Tom Sachs: Furniture in Chicago
For the first time in over twenty years, the New York artist Tom Sachs show sound extension sculptural practice through ‘Tom Sachs: Furniture’ by Theater Gates’s Rebuild Foundation and Anthony Gallery at Stony Islands Arts Bank, Chicago from July 7 to September 4, 2022. Furniture pieces from Sachs’ repertoire adorn the exposure, a testament to the multimedia artist’s recreations of modern iconography through everyday materials such as plywood. Alongside his works, the public art transforms into a platform for Sach to demonstrate the extent of his creative artistry, and his furniture signature is underscored by the variety of holes and the use of lines and blocks with sharp edges.
The time and dedication he invested in producing his works for the exhibition goes hand in hand with his philosophy of modernizing the maximalist trend by moving towards products with cleaner, simpler and more well-sculpted edges. All handmade, resin, steel and ceramic play a role in Sachs’ sculptures, with plywood being the main character. Drawn from the organic process, flaws and scars may appear in the furniture on closer inspection, but these simply amplify the narrative of how these objects came to be, stripping them of a glossed over perception. whether they were produced with perfection in mind or through the precise digitization of machinery. For Sachs, his studio team operates like a university hospital or a cult that reveres plywood and a philosophy of transparency, shaping their collective values that underscore their approach to furniture making.
images courtesy of Rebuild Foundation, Anthony Gallery and Tom Sachs: Furniture | Model eighty-three, Tom Sachs, 2022
Sculptural practice through furniture
Parts of the exhibition can be ordered on request. Memories of an early crush can be invoked when viewers glimpse Love Seat, a bench assembled from latex-painted maple plywood. Perfectly shaped holes run through the frame of the seat and, looking at the back of the sculpture, the uniform design falls in sync while the rectangular plywood forms continuity throughout the bench. The Love Seat also includes Spinneybeck leather cushions and armrests, and Sachs writes that there is a hand-engraved, sequentially numbered copper plate on each piece.
Sitting by a pier at sunset or fishing by a lake on a quiet afternoon can be accompanied by the Sachs’ Crate Chair, a ConEd barrier chair assembled with stainless steel hardware. Signs of charcoal lines, scuffed edges, and dark stains highlight the feature of the chair that comes with a coffee table made with the same materials. Speaking of coffee tables, Sachs has also created one that exudes simplicity with its solid white color. The round surface is affixed to butterfly-shaped legs with their characteristic holes. Seen from a distance, the circular openings look like a worried face, thanks to the arched lower part of the piece.
ConEd Altec lamp, Tom Sachs, 2022
Stories in the making
Other artworks and sculptures by Sachs – who also won designboom’s THE 2021 DESIGN AWARD in the artistic field (look at our exclusive artistic interview with the artist here) – which are on display in the exhibit include cassette tapes, packaging of Reese’s Chocolate Buttercups designed from his point of view, bone china sets etched with NASA red inlays, lamps in the form of kitchen hoods and plywood boomboxes that take viewers back to the street culture of the past.
Through the exhibition with Rebuild the foundation and Anthony Gallery, Tom Sachs‘transparency using the idea of showing brands tells the story of making. The more he tells the story of his works, the more viewers can invest in their personal belongings and establish closer connections with the objects and rituals of their daily lives. As the show’s text indicates, Sachs challenges viewers to think about the items they buy; the furniture they have; public address systems and the music they play; and reminds them that everything is art. These are the rituals that activate it.
Crate No. 13 Chair, Tom Sachs, 2018
Ileen Gray Lamp, Tom Sachs, 2002
Coffee table, Tom Sachs, 2022