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Tom Sachs: Grand Theft Auto ‘The Most Important Artwork of Our Time’

Patrick McMullan


Perhaps the critics raving about Grand Theft Auto IV have been too modest in their comparisons of the video game to cultural milestones like The Godfather and The Sopranos — have they forgotten Grünewald's The Isenheim Altarpiece and Les Demoiselles d'Avignon? "I think Grand Theft Auto, the whole series, is the most important artwork of our time," artist Tom Sachs said at the opening of his Hello Kitty–festooned exhibition at the Lever House last night. "It's completely underrated as art in every possible way, from the music to the violence to the automobile culture and architecture and virtual reality. The game play is excellent, and the iconography is really what makes it count and what makes it meaningful. I don't understand why that's not in the Museum of Modern Art."

Sachs, who talked to the makers of GTA for the upcoming issue of Interview magazine, says he hasn't yet played GTA IV because he's been too busy setting up the exhibition and his other show at Sperone Westwater. "I can't play it that well, it takes me a lot of time," he said. "I'll probably hook it up tomorrow or the next day." —Andrew Goldstein

Earlier: Why Critics Want Grand Theft Auto IV to Be the ‘Godfather’ of Video Games