Tom Friedman’s monumental sculpture “Looking Up” has just been installed at Laguna Gloria.
The latest addition to the growing collection of outdoor sculpture the Contemporary Austin has acquired for Laguna Gloria, the 33-foot “Looking Up” is the largest sculpture to date on the museum grounds.
Although “Looking Up” has its official opening May 10, the sculpture was installed Wednesday on the lawn in front of the historic Driscoll Villa.
“Looking Up” riffs on the elegant elongated figures by modernist master Alberto Giacometti whose poignant prolongated figures came to symbolize the existential frustrations and longings of the post-World War II world.
And yet, constructed of mashed-up aluminum roasting pans then cast in shining stainless steel, “Looking Up” is only part homage to Giacometti.
It’s also a whimsical take on the impromptu handmade foil figures made as childhood art projects — as well the fanciful ones adorning take-out containers from upscale restaurants.
Similar to Giacometti melancholic figures, Friedman’s “Looking Up” projects a kind winsomeness, an alien innocent dropped into a world it doesn’t understand.
The New York-based Friedman uses all kinds of everyday material — sugar cubes, masking tape, toothpicks — to make hyper-real objects like a piece of white sandwich bread or a pizza made of styrofoam.
Friedman’s also spun an ongoing series of sculpture out of experiments with aluminum foil roasting pans, crushing them into shapes which he then casts in stainless steel.
Funding for Friedman’s commission came from the $9 million grant awarded to the museum in 2013 by the Marcus Foundation to establish the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Park.
The Laguna Gloria grounds are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.
Laguna Gloria is at 3809 W. 35th St.