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Tom Sachs Turns it Up with a Boombox Retrospective

Ceramic speakers and sonic bodegas bump curated playlists at The Contemporary Austin for 'Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective 1999–2015.'

by Emerson Rosenthal
Feb 27 2015, 9:00pm

Tom Sachs, Model One, 1999. Mixed media. 32 x 41 x 14 inches. Collection of Shelley Fox Aarons and Philip Aarons, New York. Image courtesy Tom Sachs Studio.

Since childhood, sculptor Tom Sachs has been building boomboxes. "I hooked my Sony Walkman up to a set of mini speakers and velcroed them to a block of scrap plywood. It was a clusterfuck of wires," he says in the press release for Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective 1999–2015, the artist's first-ever exhibition in Texas. For the show, which also includes a number of other sculptures and installations from the artist who previously imagined a trip to Mars inside of the Park Avenue Armory, Sachs created a series of working ceramic boomboxes that demonstrate his ongoing love for music, and for sculpting the systems that blare it. 

"In 8th grade woodshop, I made a box for the whole mess out of pine," Sachs continues, describing his longtime involvement with building boomboxes. "It had a knob to hang the headphones that was made out of a broomstick.” The show features a total of 15 sculptures that range from Miffy Mountain, a large-scale bronze sculpture of the beloved children's book character, and battery tower "Duralast," a bronze rendering of a stack of car batteries. In addition, Sachs has also curated a number of playlists from pop icons and friends to be blasted through his boomboxes. 

“I have worked with Tom Sachs on several projects in the past, and I am very excited to introduce his work to Austin [Texas],” explains Louis Grachos, Ernest and Sarah Butler Executive Director of The Contemporary Austin. “Like Austin, Tom takes his eccentricities seriously. The maverick spirit of self-reliance and attention to hand-crafted precision that come through in his work will keenly resonate with our audiences in Central Texas and beyond.”

Tom Sachs, Toyan’s, 2002. Mixed media. 97 x 148 x 30 inches. Installation view, The Contemporary. Austin – Jones Center, Austin, 2015. Courtesy Tom Sachs Studio. Photograph by Genevieve Hanson.

Tom Sachs, Bodega, 2014. Mixed media. 90 x 122 x 40 inches. Installation view, The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center, Austin, 2015. Courtesy Tom Sachs Studio. Photograph by Genevieve Hanson.

Installation view, Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective 1999–2015, The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center, Austin, 2015. Courtesy Tom Sachs Studio. Photograph by Genevieve Hanson.

Installation view, Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective 1999–2015, The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center, Austin, 2015. Courtesy Tom Sachs Studio. Photograph by Genevieve Hanson.

Installation view, Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective 1999–2015, The Contemporary Austin – Jones Center, Austin, 2015. Courtesy Tom Sachs Studio. Photograph by Genevieve Hanson.

Tom Sachs, Miffy Fountain, 2008. Silicon bronze and paint (three-part catalyzed acrylic, white primer, white base coat, “Xtreme” Flat Finish Klearkote). 108 x 102 x 102 inches. Courtesy Tom Sachs Studio.

Tom Sachs, Stupa, 2013. Bronze. 128 x 26 x 26 inches. Edition of 3, AP 1 of 2. Installation view, The Contemporary Austin – Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria, Austin, 2015. Courtesy Tom Sachs Studio. Photograph by Genevieve Hanson.

Tom Sachs, Tower of Power, 2015. Bronze. 144 x 9 1/2 x 9 1/2 inches. Installation view, The Contemporary Austin – Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park at Laguna Gloria, Austin, 2015. Courtesy Tom Sachs Studio. Photograph by Genevieve Hanson.

Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective 1999–2015 will be on display at The Contemporary Austin from January 24 through April 19, 2015. Click here to learn more. 

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Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective 1999–2015
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