Tom Sachs: Big Beats and Bold Boomboxes at the Brooklyn Museum

Art Scene

Tom Sachs: Big Beats and Bold Boomboxes at the Brooklyn Museum

Tom Sachs is having a major moment in 2016 with a slew of stand-out exhibits taking place this summer.  The New York-based artist and prolific sculptor is concurrently exhibiting in three solo shows at major art venues – Deitch ProjectsThe Noguchi Museum, and the Brooklyn Museum.


The show on view at the Brooklyn Museum titled, ’Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective, 1999-2016’ pays homage to the iconic boombox, an integral and much beloved component of 1980s hip-hop culture.  Upon entering the exhibit located in the Rubin Pavilion of the museum lobby, viewers are greeted to a sonically-engaging experience carefully crafted by the artist. Each of the eighteen boombox sculptures are fully functional and play music, featuring curated playlists by some of the artist’s influential friends.  Sachs’ frequent investigation of consumerism, corporate life, capitalistic elements, and high vs. low culture are at play resulting in an intriguing dialogue.


Sachs, an avid music lover and pop culture enthusiast creates playful and witty sculptures sourced from found materials. The artist injects his usual dose of humor and irony thoughtfully in each piece.  His signature DIY approach shines through in the work, using non-traditional materials such as plywood, foamcore, batteries, duct tape, wires, hot glue, and solder.


In ‘Defender’ (2000), three massive speakers stand on a pedestal decked out in vintage video game visuals, calling to mind old-school arcades. ‘Phonkey’ (2011) seems to resemble a friendly, extra-terrestrial boombox chilling on a red sand dune on Mars. The multi-purpose installation ‘Bodega’ (2014) where museum-goers can grab snacks and have their passport made, remind us of the greatness of bodegas as urban institutions.


In this exhibit Sachs take on various roles –  as a scientist, engineer, and cultural critic – dissecting, examining,  and celebrating aspects of modern American society via the powerful boombox.


‘Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective, 1999-2016’ will be on view through August 14, 2016.

Brooklyn Museum

Rubin Pavilion – 1st floor

200 Eastern Parkway

Brooklyn NY 11238