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Next flight of Tom Sachs' space program takes off at Park Avenue Armory in New York
Installation view of Nick Doyle and Pat McCarthy at Mission Control Center (MCC). Landing Excursion Module (LEM) in background. Photo by Genevieve Hanson, NYC.

NEW YORK, NY.- Park Avenue Armory and Creative Time have joined forces with artist Tom Sachs to launch the next flight of his SPACE PROGRAM with an unprecedented four-week mission to Mars, all within Park Avenue Armory’s soaring 55,000-square-foot drill hall. Following his 2007 mission to the moon, Sachs and his team take audiences to the further reaches of the solar system with an installation of dynamic and meticulously crafted sculptures. Using his signature bricolage technique, Sachs fashions aeronautical equipment and the world of another planet out of simple materials—foam-core, hot glue, plywood, and other standard materials that have been salvaged or are readily available from D.I.Y. catalogues. With painstaking detail, he creates elaborate spacecraft, exploratory vehicles, a Mission Control, launch platforms, and a Mars landscape, recasting the Wade Thompson Drill Hall as an immersive space odyssey at an ambitious scale.

SPACE PROGRAM: MARS is manned by Sachs and his studio team of thirteen, who perform the myriad procedures, rituals, and tasks of their mission at the Armory from May 16 to June 17, 2012. The installation is curated by Creative Time President & Artistic Director Anne Pasternak and Park Avenue Armory Consulting Artistic Director Kristy Edmunds.

In preparation for their lengthy mission, Sachs and his crew have engineered all that is necessary for survival, colonization, and scientific exploration in extraterrestrial environs, from food delivery and astronaut entertainment to human waste disposal. The team is spending the duration of the project in residency at the Armory working through mission tasks and systems, including Space Camp, Rover Deployment, Red Beans and Rice Preparation, and Suiting Protocol. Visitors are invited to undergo a re-education or “indoctrination” process that enables them to participate in the installation like a member of the studio team, ultimately earning the right to enter the Landing Excursion Module (LEM), Sachs’ hand-sculpted and life-sized space capsule. Over the course of the installation, the team will also conduct 90-minute demonstrations of the SPACE PROGRAM: MARS “Flight Plan.” During these events, visitors witness the activation of the complex sculptural systems, rituals, and narratives that comprise the mission to Mars, from lift off to their first walk on the surface of Mars to collecting scientific samples.

“For SPACE PROGRAM: MARS, Tom Sachs has produced elaborate instruments of space travel out of found materials, and creates a dynamic interplay among astronauts. He is thus simulating all aspects of the iconic experience. The work is both humorous and serious, giving viewers insight into the challenges of space travel, but also leaving us to ponder our place in the universe,” said Rebecca Robertson, President and Executive Producer of Park Avenue Armory. Kristy Edmunds, Consulting Artistic Director at the Armory, added, “The shift in space travel from the public sector to the private mirrors Sachs’ own work, which has often commented on the commercial impulse inherent in our society.”

“Tom Sachs’ work taps into the role of space flight in America and in the American psyche, particularly relevant given the recent grounding of the NASA shuttle program,” said Anne Pasternak, President and Artistic Director of Creative Time. “SPACE PROGRAM: MARS explores the idea of space travel as a lens through which we can examine ourselves and our present, past, and future.”

As part of SPACE PROGRAM: MARS, the Museum of the Moon in the Armory’s Veterans Room showcases objects from Sachs’ 2007 excursion to the moon, including spacesuits, drawings, paintings, and moon rock samples taken from the floor of Gagosian Gallery.

Tom Sachs
Tom Sachs is 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). Sachs was also recently selected by the Aspen Art Museum as the recipient of their 2012 Aspen Award for Art.

Evident in SPACE PROGRAM: MARS, and in Sachs’ practice at-large, is a compulsive tinkerer’s mentality and ribald wit. Beneath this is a conceptual underpinning that addresses serious and profound issues—namely the commodification of abstract concepts. From his crude perversions of weaponry and luxury accoutrements—including such works as HG, (Hermès Hand Grenade), 1995, and Chanel Guillotine (Breakfast Nook), 1998—to the complex inspection and detournement of re-imagined living systems—as seen in Sachs’ SPACE PROGRAM—Sachs provokes reflection on utopian follies and dystopian realities. Throughout all of these explorations, Sachs' central concern is the craft of constructing. He strives to emphasize the presence of the human hand, reminding the viewer of the hard work involved, while challenging aspects of modern creativity that relate to conception, production, consumption, and circulation.

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. Sachs works with Sperone Westwater, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, and Baldwin Gallery.

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