A few months ago I was taken to a little party at Tom Sachs‘studio by my friend Glenn.
We were greeted by Tom, wearing desert fatigue and his signature grey t-shirt. If you didn’t know it was him, his name was handwriten on a piece of tape stuck on his chest: Tom. He then wrote our names on tape –Unknown for me- and stuck them on our jackets. Everybody had his name written on tape, like a convention.
If you’d never been to Tom’s studio, it’s 30% hardware store, 60% Art gallery, and the remaining 10%, a miscelleneous mix of accounting, archives and research. The hardware space also includes a small kitchen with a lot of funny signs on the fridge, cornflakes, bananas on a plate, etc..,which could make it all an installation piece that could be sold at Gagosian, except that it’s a real kitchen, meaning a working one. At least, it looks like one. Everything else in this room was also funny, and almost endless fun to look at: Tom’s tools, Tom’s chainsaws, Tom’s cameras, and Tom’s classic Hello Kitty sculptures on a shelf.
I had went there many years before, also taken by Glenn when, I remember, only the hardware space existed. It was for the launch party for Tom’s Chanel guillotine. People were drinking and talking, not paying that much attention to the life-size guillotine with the famous fashion house logo. Then Tom brought a pork roast he had cooked, and placed it where you were supposed to put your head when you were given a death sentence. Tom pulled on a rope to release the knife and it came down with a brief and sinister whistle that not only cut the roast, but the metal tray on which it was presented. I remember juice splashing on people around it, particularly on a romantic, pale, and dark haired young woman, dressed in 1930’s vintage who looked like she could be a poet, or at least someone with a tormenting interest in the Art world.
Shortly after this semi-private event, Tom’s work became more and more famous, while Chanel celebrity remained more or less the same.
At this recent party, we found out that the studio has a basement, where unused parts and remains of installations are stacked along the walls. Tom had also installed a make-shift bowling lane, and a few guest were playing.
It made the same thundering noise when the ball rolled and hit the pins, just like a real bowling.
I gave it a try, and when throwing the wooden ball, I realized it was metaphor for artistic success: bowling over the Art world !
Although I never play bowling, I knocked over all the pins on my first attempt.
– Is bowling big in France ? asked me Andy.
Andy playing bowling