Initially organized by the Noguchi Museum in New York, the exhibition centers on an immersive environment representing Sachs’ distinctive reworking of chanoyu, or traditional Japanese tea ceremony—including the myriad elements essential to that intensely ritualistic universe. Sachs has also produced a complete alternative material culture of Tea—from bowls and ladles, scroll paintings and vases, to a motorized tea whisk, a shot clock, and an electronic brazier. During the course of the exhibition, the Nasher will present a series of public demonstrations in which special collaborators trained by the artist will perform tea ceremony for a few guests. The walls of the tea house will be removed for the occasion, enabling visitors to watch the ceremony as it unfolds.
“Traditional tea ceremony,” says Dakin Hart, Senior Curator at the Noguchi Museum where the show originated and for which it was conceived, “was refined over many years, reached a mature state, was codified, and then, like most cultural phenomena that survive an originating generation, more or less stopped developing. The fads that become full-fledged cultures are the ones that capture lasting values in universal experiences. Tea is one of those because it celebrates hospitality, reinforces the development of community through ritual, and creates a holistic but intimate sense of connection to the world in fundamental combinations of earth, air, fire, and water.”
“Engaging with, and reimagining a dizzying array of cultural forms and visual languages, Tom Sachs makes works that surprise and delight, while bringing forth new insights and understanding through their unexpected combinations," says Nasher Sculpture Center Director Jeremy Strick. "We are delighted to host this project at the Nasher."
Supplementing the tea garden are additional installations covering consummate examples of Sachs’ Tea tools, a brief history of Tea as it developed out of Sachs’ Space Program 2.0: MARS, and a selection of objects from the artist’s two decade–long career as a cultural hybridizer and devotee of modernist essentialism.
The exhibition will also feature the world premiere of a new film by Tom Sachs, also titled Tea Ceremony. The film will screen regularly throughout the run of the exhibition.
Sachs has also curated a selection of works from the Nasher Collection which will be on view in a gallery adjacent to Tea Ceremony as part of the museum’s Foundations series. This attendant exhibition will highlight the artist’s deep ties to modernism, drawing parallels between his work and the geometric, formal qualities in such pieces as Giacometti’s Spoon Woman and Julio Gonzalez’s Main aux piquants, as well as the trailblazing focus on abjection by artists such as Joseph Beuys and Willem de Kooning, and the campy irreverence of artists like Claus Oldenburg. “I’m looking, in the curation of this collection,” says Sachs, “to show works that bring new information to my thinking and how, in general, we consider sculpture, not only in the mystic realm but also in the mundane world of everyday objects, and where these two spheres intersect.”
Tom Sachs: Tea Ceremony is accompanied by a 280-page artist’s book, Tea Ceremony Manual, documenting the artist’s culture and practice of Tea. Produced for the exhibition and published by The Noguchi Museum, with additional support from Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Nasher Sculpture Center.
About Tom Sachs
Tom Sachs was born in New York in 1966. After studying at the Architectural Association in London in 1987, he received a B.A. from Bennington College, VT in 1989. His work has been included in many exhibitions in the U.S. and abroad, and has been collected by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Centre Georges Pompidou, San Francisco MOMA, and the Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo. Major solo exhibitions include SITE Santa Fe (1999), the Bohen Foundation, New York (2002), Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin (2003), Astrup Fearnley Museet for Moderne Kunst, Oslo, and Fondazione Prada, Milan (2006), Gagosian Gallery, Los Angeles (2007), Lever House, New York (2008), Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT (2009), Park Avenue Armory, New York (2012), The Noguchi Museum, New York (2016), Brooklyn Museum, New York (2016), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2016). Sachs lives and works in New York. Sachs has had solo exhibitions at Sperone Westwater in 2004, 2008, and 2011. Concurrent with his exhibition at the Nasher Sculpture Center, Sperone Westwater in New York will present an exhibition of sculptures by Sachs called Objects of Devotion—the artist’s interpretation on the wunderkammern, or cabinets of curiosities—on view from September 5 through October 28, 2017.
Tom Sachs: Tea Ceremony at the Nasher Sculpture Center is made possible with the generous support of the Dallas Art Fair Foundation.