July 26, 1966
New York, USA
New York, USA
NYC-based Tom Sachs is a lauded contemporary artist, sculptor and equal space enthusiast who’s been shaking up the art world for the better part of two decades with his tongue-in-cheek take on branding and consumer culture, and the resulting elaborate reinterpretations of iconic pieces. Virgil Abloh, Kanye West and Heron Preston are only a few of his high-profile advocates.
Flirting with fashion more than once through his stellar career, some of his more noted sculptures includes the Chanel guillotine from 1998, the Prada Toilet and the Hermés Value Meal (which was paired with a McDonald’s he built using plywood, glue and assorted kitchen appliances.) He also did Hello Kitty and her friends in materials ranging from foamcore to bronze, along with various Cold War masterpieces.
In more recent years these have been somewhat overshadowed by Sachs’ affinity for anything NASA, his inventive “Space Program” installations spawning an unprecedented collaboration with Nike in 2012.
Sachs is tasked with creating a Christmas window display for department store Barney’s, resulting in the provocative Hello Kitty Nativity, with Hello Kitty as Virgin Mary and three wise Bart Simpsons.
The Prada toilet and the Hermés Value Meal see the light of day, followed by the Chanel chainsaw the following year.
Sachs’ obsession with space voyages and the Apollo program renders the Space Program installation, which recreates the Apollo lunar module (to scale).
The video 10 Bullets (or working to code) by Tom Sachs is released, which is his guide to studio ethics and aesthetics.
Having forged a friendship with Nike CEO Mark Parker already in 2005, the Tom Sachs NIKECraft collection drops in 2012. It consists of The Mars Yard Shoe, the Trench, The Marsfly Jacket and the Lightweight Tote, all made from materials never before used in sportswear, including automotive air bags, mainsails for boats and the space suit itself. Each piece is engineered with functionality and a space voyage in mind.
The Mars Yard Shoe becomes instant classics, copped by sneakerheads around the globe, and the collab arguably paves the way for the ensuing mainstream “NASA-nostalgia” with everyone from your aunt to Pharrell wearing NASA-emblazoned clothing.
Sachs’ love of boomboxes – and the creation of boomboxes – is put on display at the Brooklyn Museum titled the Boombox Retrospective” exhibit. The same year one of Sachs’ boombox pieces is featured Frank Ocean’s 45-minute visual album Endless, and it turns out he also helped Ocean with the “Stairway to Heaven” sculpture.
The NikeCraft Mars Yard shoe is re-launched in 2.0 form with material updates after rigorous testing by Sachs. The sneakers are the most sought-after Nike kicks of the year.
Sachs announces a third collaboration with Nike in the shape of the outlandish NikeCraft Mars Yard Overshoe, and sits down with Highsnobiety to unbox the intergalactic masterpiece for the first time.
Another string of Sachs engineered Nike goods, including an exploding poncho and waterproof Fanny Packs for NikeCraft and the Croc-like, yellow slip-on shoe on display at Sachs’ Tea Ceremony exhibition in Tokyo.