A towering 33-foot elongated figure made of stainless steel will soon overlook the historic villa and grounds at Laguna Gloria.
The Contemporary Austin announced today that it has acquired “Looking Up,” sculpture by Tom Friedman. The acquisition comes from the $9 million grant awarded to the museum in 2013 by the Marcus Foundation to establish the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park.
“Looking Up” will be unveiled May 9.
In a series of visits to Laguna Gloria beginning in 2013, the New York-based Friedman conceived of creating a monumental version of a recent series of sculptural objects he’s made that are essentially mash-ups of classic modernism sculpture and DIY handmade objects made of ordinary material, in particular aluminum foil roasting pans.
“Looking Up” riffs on the elegant elongated figures by modernist master Alberto Giacometti. But constructed of mashed-up aluminum roasting pans then cast in shining stainless steel, “Looking Up” is part homage to Giacometti and a whimsical — if monumental — take on impromptu handmade foil figures.
Commissioned by the Contemporary, “Looking Up” will be the largest sculpture to date on the museum grounds. Friedman created it in an edition of three, the first of which will reside in Austin.
It will be installed just inside the entrance gates at Laguna Gloria on the lawn in front of the historic Driscoll Villa.
“The figure in ‘Looking Up’ stands as if in sudden wonder at something he perceives above and perhaps beyond our view,” said museum director Louis Grachos in a statement. “Situated near the entrance, in one of the most prominent places in the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park, I expect it to encourage the same sense of wonder among those who encounter the sculpture.”
Since receiving the Marcus Foundation grant, the Contemporary has acquired for its permanent sculpture collection a work by Ursula van Rydingsvard and long-term loans of sculpture and site-specific installations by Liam Gillick, Paul McCarthy, Do Ho Suh, Orly Genger, Marianne Vitale and Tom Sachs, among others.