20 January 2021

Tom Friedman: Looking Up

Channel Gardens, Rockefeller Centre, New York, USA

Looking Up' is a larger-than-life sculpture of a figure contemplating the sky with a delightful sense of wonder and awe. Cast in highly polished stainless steel, the subject’s stance captures the familiar impulse to gaze up in admiration of a flying bird, a passing plane, or an iconic skyscraper. Situated on a busy stretch of Fifth Avenue, this public work invites viewers to stand at its base and marvel at the surrounding architecture.

The sculpture was cast in exquisite detail from a maquette originally fashioned by the artist from aluminium foil roasting trays. Friedman embraces the creases and lines of these malleable forms, transforming the domestic and disposable with an alchemic touch. Inviting viewers to look afresh at the familiar and the everyday. 'Looking Up' embodies the artist’s playful and exacting approach to art making.

While this new 10-foot high version of the sculpture was created for an outdoor landscape, the work’s first iteration made in 2012 was 3-feet tall and exhibited in London. In 2014, the original sculpture inspired Friedman to execute the work at a majestic height of 33-feet. Examples from the monumental 2014 edition have been installed temporarily at Park Avenue, New York, South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois, and Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park, Council Bluffs, Iowa. Two are now permanently situated at the Contemporary Austin, Texas and St. Louis Science Center and Planetarium, Missouri.

Film by Matthew Schenning

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