Spaceships | Tom Sachs

Photon Drive, 2022


The art produced by Tom Sachs studio has long had crossover appeal to the design world, specifically industrial design. It’s his interest in commercial man-made objects and his recreations of them using his own remixing techniques that merge design and making. That was exactly what comprised his fall 2022 show “Spaceships” at NYC’s Acquavella Galleries.

Spaceships included a collection of new and recent work that investigated what form a spaceship could take. Sachs primarily dug through history for examples ranging from early 20th century ocean liners and aircraft to NASA-inspired lunar landers. These representations are more on the literal side vehicles that transport people from one place to another.

Other pieces like Technics 1200MK3D, a faithful plywood recreation of the iconic DJ turntable signal transportation to another state through music. An interpretation of Concept One might be to gain a clean state of mind through a form that mimics a vintage Hoover vacuum cleaner.

What really sets Sachs work apart however is his distinctive material choices and fabrication techniques. Speaking of the former, this exhibition included a mob bucket, cat litter box, Oxford English dictionary set, toothpaste caps and plenty of Makita tool batteries. What made walking around Spaceships particularly interesting was suspending recognizing the materials used from afar and later trying to identify each of the bits Sachs and team collected and cobbled together to not only fit the aesthetic but also the scale of each work.

Photos and Text: Dave Pinter