Meet the ‘Bad Art Couple.’
When a “high-profile art world family” posted a job ad on the New York Foundation for the Arts website looking for an executive assistant, the internet took notice—and not in a good way. The demanding position read like a parody and seemed significantly underpaid at just $65,000 to $95,000 a year given the role’s extensive responsibilities.
So who is this family seeking a candidate determined to “make life easier for the couple in every way possible,” including by managing their “dog systems,” “closet systems,” rooftop gardening, drafting emails and social media posts, picking up clothes from “high-end stores,” booking “high-end travel,” providing IT support, helping with “in-studio cats,” managing house cleaning, providing childcare, being available on nights and weekends, signing an NDA, and driving the family to the Hamptons—after packing their bags?
All signs point to artist Tom Sachs and his wife, former Gagosian director Sarah Hoover.
A former Sachs employee told Artnet News that it was the mention of an “organizational officer” that “clocked it” in their mind. “And dog systems and closet systems. There’s only one person who would say those three things.” Plus, the ad looks awfully similar to previous Sachs job listings.
The couple has also been named as the creators of the ad in numerous posts online. Maika Pollack, director of the John Young Museum of Art and University Galleries at the University of Hawai‘i, tweeted simply “lol Tom Sachs and Sarah Hoover.” Another user wrote “it’s gotta be tom sachs and sarah hoover I feel it in my bones.”
Commenters on Emily Colucci’s blog Filthy Dreams, which first brought the job listing to light—and was smart enough to save it as a PDF before its owners scrubbed it from the internet—say the same. “I can assure you this is Tom Sachs and his ‘organizational officer,’” wrote a commenter named Ellen on Colluci’s blog.
The ad also provides a number of identifying details that line up with Sachs and Hoover, who married in 2012. They share French bulldogs and have a five-year-old son, Guy. Sachs also has a well-documented predilection for “systems,” having said at various times that his work takes inspiration from “food delivery systems,” “speaker systems,” and “reaction control systems.” His studio is apparently filled with “sorting systems.”
The artist, who is known for his “Space Program” series of sculptures related to NASA space missions, demands that viewers of his work share his extreme attention to detail and sometimes perform menial tasks—such as sorting screws—in order to participate in it. Visitors to his 2017 “Space Camp” on New York’s Governors Island had to watch a 40-minute film and complete a grueling obstacle course in order to take home a pair of Sachs’s new NIKECraft Mars 2.0 sneakers. Before granting journalists interviews, he instructs them to watch a 21-minute film explaining the rules of his studio.
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