Tom Friedman is a conceptual artist known for his meticulously fabricated work, including sculpture, painting, drawing, video, and installation. Friedman investigates the concepts of perception, logic, and plausibility with a keen eye and strong attention to detail. Made from a wide variety of sometimes unconventional materials, such as Styrofoam, foil, plastic, wire, paper, clay, and hair, Friedman’s work often surprises the viewer—what at first glance appears to be a straightforward sculpture or simple painting is upon closer inspection revealed to be constructed from many intricate parts that the artist has manipulated with a remarkable level of craft.Read More
Friedman draws from personal experiences to recreate prosaic moments from everyday life. His work tends toward the darkly humorous, and the artist’s dry wit and often sarcastic use of materials has distinguished his practice over the last 30 years. 'Art, for me, is a context to slow the viewer’s experience from their everyday life in order to think about things they haven’t thought about,' Friedman explains, 'or to think in a new way.' Since the early 1990s, Friedman has utilised an array of sophisticated processes to achieve a seemingly mass-produced appearance. His highly conceptual work engages both maximalist and minimalist aesthetics, as well as recalling those of Pop Art, and his practice is deeply engaged with the history of sculpture.
Friedman has also developed an important body of outdoor and public sculptures. Most of these are cast from maquettes rendered out of aluminium roasting pans, further cementing the artist’s alchemic ability to transform the everyday. In his celebrated, nearly thirty-three feet high sculpture Looking Up (2015) a slender, elegant figure looks to the sky with curiosity, inviting its viewers to stand at its base and do the same. Looking Up was installed at the entrance of Rockefeller Center’s Channel Gardens in January 2021, and has been previously exhibited at Park Avenue, New York; South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois; and Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park, Council Bluffs, Iowa. Two editions are in the permanent collections of the Contemporary Austin, Texas; and St. Louis Science Center and Planetarium, Missouri.
Tom Friedman received a BFA in graphic illustration from Washington University in St. Louis in 1988 and an MFA in sculpture from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1990. Solo exhibitions of his work have been organised at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1995), Saint Louis Art Museum (1997), Museum of Contemporary in Chicago (2000), and Gagosian Gallery (2006 and 2008). His work has also been included in major group exhibitions such as the São Paulo Biennial (1996), New Work: Drawing Today at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1997), Self-Portraits from the Permanent Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (2000), SITE Santa Fe (2004), and Recent Acquisitions: Contemporary Sculpture (2004) and Shapes of Space (2007), both at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. Friedman's achievements have been recognised with numerous awards, including an Academy Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (1993), the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (1993), and a grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation (2001). He was also a finalist for the Hugo Boss Prize in 2000. Friedman lives and works in Leverett, Massachusetts.
Text courtesy Lehmann Maupin.
Art Basel in Miami Beach is a curious thing: the world's greatest art party for some, or a bacchanalian spectacle catering to a disconnected elite for others. For the galleries participating in the myriad satellite fairs around it (particularly NADA and Untitled), ABMB is often known simply as "the main fair"—the beacon to which...
Disorientingly familiar, the entrance of My Head Is a Haunted House is covered with a Twin Peaks –esque Red Room floor vinyl that grounds whatever happens there in another dimension. But in contras
A 33-foot-tall Tom Friedman sculpture will be joining the grounds at the Contemporary Austin's Laguna Gloria campus this spring. Titled Looking Up (2015), the piece is the latest in the artist's series of figures formed from crushed aluminum foil roasting pans, and will be cast in stainless steel. The sculpture, which is scheduled to...