The ‘Objects of Devotion’ and the New Face of Modernism at Sperone Westwater

Tom Sachs: Objects of Devotion at Sperone Westwater, installation view, New York.

With Sperone Westwater showcasing Tom Sachs’ show ‘Objects of Devotion’, it is not an overestimation to state that we are witnessing a new and fresh form of Modernist art which is singularly different from what we have known about art from the various famous old schools of art. It is the new face of Modernism because it changes and expands our perspective on art as such, as we have known since centuries through various traditional schools of art. Sachs has managed to discover the ordinary elements from everyday life and has juxtaposed them with the most fantastic objects, which at first appears to be a myriad of random elements placed together. However, when looked as a whole, it gives a sense of oneness and authenticity which marks no demarcation between ordinary and extraordinary, and in fact by placing the ordinary with the extraordinary, shows how the objects of everyday life that we witness around us, gain a completely different form and emphasis when re-created as art.

Tom Sachs: Objects of Devotion at Sperone Westwater, installation view, New York.

The traditional art of sculpting focused on the rare and the sublime forms of beauty which were often beyond ordinary human reach. The sculptures were made from precious rocks, especially and mostly from marble. But in Sperone Westwater gallery, we see Sachs’ miniature sculptures which are made from plywood, Tyvek etc and such other materials which are most commonly found, used and discarded without anyone even noticing them. In his interview with Adam Savage, Tom Sachs describes his fascination with a variety of objects, such as even his sister’s Barbie doll. From his first miniature sculpture of a camera for his father to the ‘Space Program’ to the ‘Objects of Devotion’, it is all a continuation of the same theme of our attachment to material objects found around us. Moreover, in Sachs’ world of art, tools for carpentering and plumbing can be found together with miniature sculptures of rockets and missiles which is something completely new as a mode of expression. By doing so, Sachs shows us that there needn’t be a dichotomy between art and science. In fact, a look at the gallery showcasing his art shows how in this new modernism of his, art, science and technology can co-exist together because he views all of them as part of the same reality and hence there needn’t be any artificial demarcation between them.

Tom Sachs: Objects of Devotion at Sperone Westwater, installation view, New York.

Tom Sachs is an artist whose chief aim is not the final end but the process of creation itself and the joy found therein. “Objects of Devotion” is, for this very reason, an appropriate name for works of the artist who promotes works such as carpentering and plumbing and not just ones like rocket making. Sachs’ works provide a fresh new perspective by placing the objects from different areas and professions and by doing so, giving them a sense of prominence in their own way.

Tom Sachs: Objects of Devotion at Sperone Westwater, installation view, New York.

While passing through the gallery, each individual can find some or the other object there which they can instantly connect with and which evokes nostalgia and a sense of attachment to them just as Sachs’ own attachment with his first camera model. In Sperone Westwater gallery’s solo show of Sachs, we get to experience the re-creation of reality with the closest affinity to our most real, lived experiences. You may find the model of your favorite tool that you generally work with or the rockets you found cool in your childhood. There is something in there for everyone.


Tom Sachs

Objects of Devotion

5 September – 28 October 2017

Sperone Westwater, New York


-V.M. Scott

Photographs provided by the gallery and the artist.

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