Skip to content
Mixed media on plywood of a Swiss flag over text that reads 'United States' by Tom Sachs

Tom Sachs

United States, 2018
Synthetic polymer paint, steel, pyrography on plywood
48h x 48w x 1 3/4d in

© Tom Sachs Image Credit Genevieve Hanson Image Courtesy Tom Sachs Studio and Vito Schnabel Gallery

Work on New York City’s Second Avenue subway began in 1972. After decades of false starts, the first phase was opened to the public in January 2017. It runs about 2 miles. Compare that to Switzerland’s Gotthard Base Tunnel, the earth’s longest at 35.47 miles (roughly three times the length of Manhattan), which opened in 2016. That required the Swiss to drill a hole through the Alps; it is, in parts, one and a half times deeper than the Grand Canyon. In all, the tunnel took 14 years of round-the-clock work. “When you’re the world’s biggest laundering device, it’s easy to get things done quickly,” says Tom Sachs.The American conceptual artist has long been fascinated by the efficient Swiss, including references to the country in work as far back as the early 1990s.

Continue Reading