Tom Friedman - Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale New York Wednesday, March 6, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Gagosian Gallery, New York

  • Exhibited

    New York, Gagosian Gallery, Retrospective, June 20 - August 22, 2008

  • Literature

    D. Kunitz, “Retrospective': Been There, Sold That” The Sun, New York, July 3, 2008

  • Catalogue Essay

    Tom Friedman’s exemplary force as artist derives from his unique ability to transform the banal into intricate and meaningful art forms. Consistently challenging widely held conceptions of what constitutes ‘art’, Friedman employs a comedic and lighthearted approach to creating a signicant body of work that is both parts superficially entertaining and deeply self-reflective.

    In the present lot, Inside Out, (1991-2006), Friedman repurposes a cornucopia of colorful and unusual everyday objects, amalgamating them into an amorphous body sprawled across the gallery floor, unfurled and undone for the world to witness. The use of the legs and arms extending into broad hands enforces corporeal structure upon this work and imbues what at first blush appears to be the chaotic spillage of a cardboard box’s contents with deeper meaning. That it is physically impossible for the tipped box to harbor its supposed contents on account of its inferior size is intentionally obvious. This dichotomy between exterior shell vis-à-vis the innards it houses is further emphasized by the smooth surface and even, monotonous, color of cardboard skin in stark contrast to the naked exposure of its hallucinogenic contents – an unabashed and spontaneous explosion of color, texture, and form. This disjunctive relationship both highlights and betrays the fundamental relationship between body and mind. Try as we may to compartmentalize our lives, aesthetically and superficially presenting ourselves as a creature of composure, our raw nature, and more ephemerally, our inner selves and souls are far too complex and unwieldy a beast to be so easily organized and self-contained.

    Friedman, as the artist savant existing on the fringes of societal norms and as an outsider looking in, is ideally situated in bringing this to light. To this end, he employs a plethora of familiar found items, unassuming and inviting with childlike qualities. Veins of crumpled lollipop wrappers and toy trinkets, with ligaments of warmly glowing holiday lights fuse into an absurdly masterful cohesive whole. Inside Out, (1991-2006), reveals itself as buoyant accumulation of the ephemeral and whimsical.

  • Artist Biography

    Tom Friedman

    American • 1965

    Tom Friedman is a multimedia artist working mainly in sculpture and works-on-paper. Interested in looking at the thin line between fantasy and autobiography, Friedman often creates works that push viewers into a complicit state of witnessing. His sculptures are composed of a multitude of objects, and he assembles them in such a way as to transform the mundane into an intricate work of art. He combines materials such as Styrofoam, foil, paper, clay, wire, hair and fuzz through a labor-intensive practice that seeks to tell a story, whether about himself or the world at large.

    Friedman's approach to autobiography is not memoiristic. Rather, he takes the smallest moments of his life, like a piece of paper found on the street, and blows it out of proportion.

    View More Works



Inside Out

cardboard box, christmas lights, styrofoam and various media from the artist's studio
26 1/4 x 186 x 55 in. (66.7 x 472.4 x 139.7 cm)

$100,000 - 150,000 

Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

7 March 2013
New York