On Tuesday, Feb. 16, the Mead Art Museum
at Amherst College unveiled new works by artist Tom Friedman in the exhibition Tom Friedman: Untitled (Foundation). Each work on view corresponds to an existing work in the Meads permanent collection, including Monets Morning on the Seine (1897), Dorothea Langes Migrant Pea Pickers (1938), and a portrait of Lord Jeffery Amherst by acclaimed British painter Joshua Reynolds (1765).
This exhibition marks the first time Friedman has drawn artistic inspiration directly from a museum collection. His new works represent a contemporary dialogue with art from the past, in ways that introduce subtexts, narratives, and new ways of thinking about the Meads art collection.
Friedman works in a range of media, most famously using Styrofoam and paint to sculpt objects that resonate with contemporary audiences, such as pizza, a cardboard box, and Hostess treats. Other works include abstract pieces in yarn and figures constructed from stainless steel, most recently Looking Up, a large-scale (over 30 feet high) figure gazing skyward.
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Friedman earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Washington University in St. Louis, and his Master of Fine Arts in sculpture from the University of Illinois at Chicago. His work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions around the world, and is in the permanent collections of major museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. He lives in Massachusetts and teaches in the graduate program in art at UMass Amherst.
The exhibition is organized by Vanja Malloy, curator of American art at the Mead. It is on view through June 26, 2016.