Tom Friedman Creates 33-Foot-Tall Sculpture for Contemporary Austin

Tom Friedman, production maquette for Looking Up (2015). Photo: Walla Walla Foundry, © Tom Friedman, courtesy Luhring Augustine, New York; and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

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 be unveiled on May 9, will become a permanent fixture at the Laguna Gloria estate, which is home to the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park, founded in 2013 through a $9 million Marcus Foundation grant. That grant money makes the Friedman acquisition possible.

The museum commissioned the work, which marks the artist’s first attempt at rendering one of his roasting pan works at such monumental scale, after Friedman made several visits to the 14-acre site.

“The figure in Looking Up stands as if in sudden wonder at something he perceives above and perhaps beyond our view,” said Louis Grachos, the Contemporary’s director, in a statement. “One of the largest works ever realized by Friedman and the largest sculpture installed at our museum, Looking Up will be a thought-provoking and, I believe, inspirational landmark for the city of Austin.”

Last summer, a exhibition of Friedman’s Styrofoam paintings of sculptures at Luhring Augustine’s Bushwick location impressed artnet News critics Blake Gopnik and Christian Viveros-Fauné (see Strictly Critical Video: Gopnik and Viveros-Fauné, on Tom Friedman at Luhring Augustine).

Among the Contemporary’s current exhibitions is “Tom Sachs: Boombox Retrospective 1999–2015,” on view through April 19 (see Tom Sachs’s Boom Boxes Will Bring the Party to Austin).

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