7 posts tagged "Tom Sachs"
In 2013, we’ve witnessed an unprecedented convergence of hip-hop and art. First there was Jay Z’s “Picasso Baby” music-video shoot this summer; then came Kanye West’s experimental Yeezus tour de force; and last night the two communities came together yet again, at NeueHouse in Manhattan, for a panel talk in celebration of the Wu-Tang’s twentieth anniversary, with Clan architect Oliver “Power” Grant and sculptor Tom Sachs. The latter is a longtime Wu disciple, who recalled listening to their records as a kid after Hebrew school in the nineties. Although the two couldn’t possibly be more different—Power was raised in the projects of Staten Island, a.k.a. “Shaolin,” while Sachs grew up in wealthy Westport, Connecticut—they found surprising common ground in “bringing the ruckus.” For example, they were both mischievous as kids. Sachs keyed his father’s BMW to make one of his first statements about consumerism, while Power ultimately decided to assemble and launch Wu-Tang because group leader RZA was locked up in jail and needed bail money, and he was on probation himself. According to Power (it’s worth noting that he never rapped with the group, focusing on business instead), “it was a form of desperation and inspiration” that caused them to “get past the corner” and start creating. Sachs agreed, saying that fear is the only thing that stops people from “creating your own reality and writing your own rules.”
Later in the evening, the conversation turned to consumerism, which remains a particular source of fascination for Sachs and informs many of his most famous works, such as Chanel Guillotine and Prada Deathcamp. Power quickly related: “I think that consumerism dictates what rap is and what it’s going to be, because that’s what it’s been doing.” He continued to discuss the origins of the Wu-Tang phoenix logo (“RZA was like, ‘Yo, I want my shit like Batman.’”) and the brand expansions that he has helped bring about, including Wu Wear clothing, the Wu-Tang video game, and even Wu Nails on Victory Boulevard, in Staten Island, which closed a few years ago. “Wu-Tang is forever going to be culturally relevant,” he said. “Even if we don’t have a record out, our brand is for real. This shit is like Coca-Cola now.”
In addition to their forthcoming album and reunion tour, the Clan’s major news is their Wu-Tang Hybrid Arts initiative, a.k.a. Wu Ha, which features works inspired by the Wu-Tang’s history (during the talk, several artists were live-painting portraits of different members such as Raekwon, ODB, and RZA), including Sachs’ combination ode to Wu-Tang Ladurée macarons. It will be displayed in a larger exhibition that opens at the Japanese American National Museum, in September 2014.
He may be a fixture on the fashion-party-circuit, but Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld continues to make a strong case for himself as an up-and-coming art world contender. Following a successful show with Sotheby’s last October, the Paris native previewed his most ambitious group exhibition to date this morning at developer Aby Rosen’s contemporary art mecca, 980 Madison Avenue. Dubbed Merci Mercy, the 35-artist show explores the power and vitality of the written word. “I was looking for a new concept to develop and discovered that many of the artists I like use text in a systematic way,” said Restoin-Roitfeld, looking every bit the power broker despite frigid climes and the before-noon preview. “It was a good opportunity to bridge the artists I love with those I’m less familiar with and contextualize them in a way that made sense.” Borrowing its title from a Louise Bourgeois inscription (left), the show features works from industry veterans Ed Ruscha and Nan Goldin) to Zeitgeist darlings (Tom Sachs and the late Dash Snow, whose work is pictured below). “We wanted to find pieces that were less expected or typical,” said co-curator and Bortolami Gallery director Christine Messineo, who was introduced to Restoin-Roitfeld by his sister Julia. “And we were especially interested in working with artists from our generation.” To wit, the pair paid studio visits to several younger artists including Rashid Johnson, Jason Loebs and, Lucien Smith, all of whom created original works for the show.
This March, Restoin-Roitfeld will curate a two-man exhibition with his longtime collaborator Nicolas Pol and Ashley Bickerton at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, but the roving dealer has no plans for a permanent gallery anytime soon. “I would like to settle down, but it’s a step-by step-process,” the 27-year-old told Style.com, though he’ll start by holding private salons at his new Upper East Side office. “I think it”s good to do things uptown. Young people should see what’s happening on this side of the city.”
Merci Mercy will run until February 17 at 980 Madison Avenue
The latest of Tom Sachs’ forays into space will take him to Mars—or at least as close as you can get with the Park Avenue Armory as your launching pad. Sachs, the fashion-favorite artist/provocateur who’s made space travel a particular fascination (when he’s not erecting giant Hello Kitty idols outside Lever House), brings Space Program: Mars to the cavernous Armory for a month-long installation beginning tomorrow. For the show, he’s created all of the viscera of a beginning-and-after space mission—in the words of the official statement, “exploratory vehicles, mission control, launch platforms, suiting stations, special effects, recreational amenities, and Mars landscape”—and, to dress the part, a new capsule collection in collaboration with Nike, dubbed NIKECraft. Would-be Sachs-tronauts can suit up in a sneaker (the Mars Yard Shoe, above, $385), trench, jacket (printed with the periodic table), and tote, all of which will be available at the exhibition space’s pop-up gift shop as well as at stores like Dover Street Market, Colette, 10 Corso Como, Union in Los Angeles, and at Opening Ceremony online beginning May 18.
Space Program: Mars opens tomorrow at the Park Avenue Armory, 643 Park Ave., NYC, www.armoryonpark.org.
Our pal Todd Selby is known for photographing the homes of the rich and stylish, but as of late, he’s turned his lens on a fair number of work spaces, too—his newly published series of artist Tom Sachs’ studio, in particular, is worth a look. Sachs is the provocateur famous for erecting Hello Kitty statues in New York and building his own self-styled space station (complete with Tyvek spacesuits) in L.A., so no surprise he’s got all manner of oddity hanging around his lair. There’s the custom, T. Sachs-embroidered NASA outfit he works in, chairs made of police partitions, and a tape measure labeled “Stanley Kubrick,” but most curious of all, we’d have to say, is the enormous jug of “Prada oil.” (For all we know, 2008 was a good vintage.) Have a look, and if you know any potential uses for Prada oil, please do let us know in the comments.
Why: Because even though it’s more than you’re used to spending on a permanent marker, it’s far less than you’d spend on art. “[It’s] the closest that most of us will get to the art world, with a practical application. And it’s cool,” says J.Crew creative director Jenna Lyons, who is well versed on affordable luxury.
Where: $12, www.tomsachs.org