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Tom Friedman

Untitled (Polystyrene Tower)

1996

Tom Friedman produces sculptures that radically transform mundane everyday materials such as drinking straws, laundry detergent, or plastic cups into objects of beauty that ask questions about aesthetics and present puzzles dealing with perception. The themes of transformation and perception are present in Untitled (Polystyrene Tower), which is composed of a wire-thin support covered with polystyrene pellets, which helps to sustain the illusion of polystyrene pouring out from some invisible source, or a spill that has been suspended in time. The artist’s skillful manipulation of the material into an unexpected presentation makes for a humorous and captivating meditation on the fallibility of human sense and recognition.

Tom Friedman (b. 1965, St. Louis, Missouri; lives and works in Conway, Massachusetts)
Untitled (Polystyrene Tower), 1996
31 1/2 in. tall; diameter variable
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Purchased with funds provided by the Buddy Taub Foundation, Jill and Dennis Roach, Directors

Initially I was drawn towards materials that had to do with personal hygiene, cleaning materials...I drew a connection between mundane rituals for keeping ourselves clean, and rituals for spiritual purification. —Tom Friedman

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