Friday, June 15, 2012

Jill Krementz covers Tom Sachs: Space Program Mars

Tom Sachs: Space Program Mars
Park Avenue Armory
643 Park Avenue at 67th Street

A special program on Saturday: June 16th, 11 AM

The exhibition closes on June 17th

Welcome to Mars as seen through the eyes of Tom Sachs, one of the most innovative artists working today.

It would be silly for me to cover this exhibition given the superb coverage it has already received — only a click away with your mouse. I did not get to see this whimsical and wonderful installation until yesterday and it knocked my socks off. It closes on Monday so if you can get there, I suggest you make an effort. Admission is $12.

Best of all: If you are in the city on Saturday you're in luck! Tom Sachs and scientists Gregg Vane, Kevin Hand, and Tommaso Rivellini will be present for an 11 AM conversation moderated by the writer, Lawrence Weschler who often writes for The New Yorker.

I'm sorry I didn't cover this great show earlier and in more detail but am thanking my lucky stars that I did get there ... and in time to tell you about Saturday's event. If you can't make it Saturday, then at least get to the Armory for the time of your life by closing day on Monday, June 16th.
Tom Sachs (b. 1966) is a sculptor, installation artist, and painter known for his innovative renaming, examination, and questioning of icons of capitalist culture and systems of daily life. His "Space Program" first launched in 2007 with a mission to the moon at Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles, was inspired by his reimagining man's first landing on the moon in 1969.

Go to the Armory on Saturday, June 16th at 11 AM for a special program with Tom Sachs about Mars exploration. Sachs, along with Gregg Vane, Kevin Hand, and Tommaso Rivellini will have a conversation about Mars exploration moderated by writer Lawrence Weschler.

At noon, the team will activate every single sculptural system, ritual, and narrative of the mission from earth to mars and back again in this
marathon event.
On the left wall at the the entrance to the armory space is a gallery of photographs depicting staff
and visitors.
This is what you see as you enter the armory. On the right is a Darth Vader-looking beer dispenser.
Landing Excursion Model (LEM)
This object is the only full-length version of the Apollo LEM on earth to stand alone on all four legs. The original Apollo LEM was the lander component of the Apollo stagecraft designed to transport a crew of two astronauts to the surface of the moon and back. The ascent stage, or top half of the unit, is complete wit a fully stocked bar, library, cockpit, and tool shed.

The descent stage, or the lower section of the LEM, includes the Incinolet toilet and air compression system that allows it to hover over the ground. Sachs repurposed this lunar lander to work on the surface of Mars with the help of NASA engineers.
Bike Station.
Peeking into the Mobile Quarantine Facility, which includes a suiting station for pre-mission tasks.
Red Beans and Rice Station (RBR)

The RBR food delivery system cooks red beans and rice during the space team's weekly ritual. It follows an old New Orleans custom dating back to the time of slavery, when red beans and rice was a weekly ritual served on Mondays. The studio employs Louis Armstrong's personal recipe. Beans are also a part of the traditional meal consumed by the NASA launch crew to celebrate a successful mission.
Indoctrination Station.
Detail of Indoctrination Station.
Young visitors are given coloring (space) books.
Grownups get to sit at a table and play with blocks.
Tom Sachs with one of his Staff members, Evan Murphy. Talia Kagan is a 21-year-old artist who lives in Bushwick. She is working for the Armory on this project.
Sample Return Suitcase.
The American Flag.
Detail of the American Flag.
Biology Lab

Opium poppies, which weep a milky white latex used to produce opium, are cultivated as part of the "Space Program." The choice of poppies hints at man's simultaneous cultivation and exploitation of Earth's natural resources.

Due to federal law restrictions, the "Space Program" replaces the cultivation process with "soapium," an ivory liquid soap morphine simulant, which is extracted from a poppy fashioned from a Penn tennis ball. During a demonstration, the space teams plants poppy seeds on Mars by scraping the seeds of poppy balls into the planet's soil.
Jared Van Deusen takes care of the poppys, watering them on a regular basis. Jared, 29, is a graduate of CalPoly in San Luis Obisbo and works as an assistant for Tom Sachs in his studio. When Jared graduated as a double major in architecture and physics it was impossible to find a job with an architect or a scientist because of funding cutbacks, but he's having a great time doing this. He lives in Bushwick.
Jared tending the poppies. The poppies are real, and bloomed somewhat later than expected.
Each side of the armory is filled with chairs, which has its own sculptural effect. It's called Civilian witness seating.

Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz: all rights reserved.