Art Basel Miami Beach Meridians, Tom Friedman

Art Basel Miami Beach

Meridians, Tom Friedman
Florida
3 - 8 December 2019
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Overview

For the first edition of Meridians, the gallery presents a large-scale installation by American artist Tom Friedman titled ‘Cocktail Party' (M16). Described by the artist as a "living cartoon" and intended to mirror the art world, the work plays on themes of voyeurism while riffing on pop culture, art history and self-portraiture. The work presents an animated group of twenty-six life-size figures in a wild array of outfits and hairstyles all enjoying a lively party. Never before exhibited in the United States, it is one of the artist's most accomplished works to date.

Despite their obvious caricature, each character has an individual quality to which we are able to relate. A man and a woman are caught mid-embrace, an ageing waiter serves canapés, a cigarette is about to be lit, a phone is prepped for a snapshot. Painstakingly hand-carved from individual blocks of Styrofoam, Friedman built up each figure with clay before painting them and imbuing each partygoer with a distinct personality.

For the first edition of Meridians, the gallery presents a large-scale installation by American artist Tom Friedman titled ‘Cocktail Party' (M16). Described by the artist as a "living cartoon" and intended to mirror the art world, the work plays on themes of voyeurism while riffing on pop culture, art history and self-portraiture. The work presents an animated group of twenty-six life-size figures in a wild array of outfits and hairstyles all enjoying a lively party. Never before exhibited in the United States, it is one of the artist's most accomplished works to date.

Despite their obvious caricature, each character has an individual quality to which we are able to relate. A man and a woman are caught mid-embrace, an ageing waiter serves canapés, a cigarette is about to be lit, a phone is prepped for a snapshot. Painstakingly hand-carved from individual blocks of Styrofoam, Friedman built up each figure with clay before painting them and imbuing each partygoer with a distinct personality.

Friedman's meticulous eye for detail heightens the sense of pseudo-reality in the work. Details of the figures' clothing and accessories also give a subtle nod to those familiar with Friedman's practice - a woman wearing an emerald broach fashioned out of toothpicks, a young man's snowflake pendant and a woman holding a block of Styrofoam in lieu of a clutch bag. Friedman demonstrates, as New York Times critic Roberta Smith has written, "unusual clarity in the interaction of materials and thought. In fact, he connects the two." In ‘Cocktail Party', the lines of reality and hyper-reality are blurred as the boundaries of the gathering itself as Friedman invites the members of the art world he depicts to become live players themselves within the action.

For more information, please contact info@stephenfriedman.com.
For press enquiries, please contact Carlotta Dennis-Lovaglio at carlotta@scott-andco.com.
For sales enquiries, please contact sales@stephenfriedman.com.

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