Tom Friedman: Cocktail Party / Jeffrey Deitch Los Angeles

Jeffrey Deitch Los Angeles currently presents Tom Friedman’s Cocktail Party (2015) at the 7000 Santa Monica Boulevard gallery. Tom Friedman describes Cocktail Party as a “3-D cartoon, consisting of 20 figures interacting.” It’s one of the artist’s major works. The group of figures blends with the group of viewers. In addition to “Cocktail Party”, the exhibition will also features two recent figurative sculptures, Big Hug (2022), representing two figures in an all-consuming embrace, and Kid (2023), an 8 foot tall figure in an ecstatic gesture, textured with a multitude of objects. Pong (2017) a video projection of a vintage Pong video game will be presented in the mezzanine gallery in natural light, giving it a ghostly appearance.

The exhibition runs until April 8, 2023, in parallel with Refik Anadol’s show at Jeffrey Deitch’s 925 N. Orange Drive space.

Tom Friedman: Cocktail Party / Jeffrey Deitch, 7000 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles. Artist Reception, February 18, 2023.

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Exhibition text (excerpt):

Friedman’s work is the result of epiphanies discovered through what he calls “the meditative artist’s gaze.” The more closely Friedman investigates an object, such as a pencil, the less clear it becomes, until the object dissolves into itself. He moves from the perfect marriage of form and content to deadpan humor, to the nihilistic questions of why even “bother” to make art, to the joy of being.

Each artwork for Friedman is an invention with new processes to learn and new problems to solve. Although his work looks different from piece to piece there is a web of continuity to be discovered. Friedman has said he builds his work from the atom up, which could mean every detail is to be considered.

Cocktail Party, Pong, Big Hug and Kid represent a maturing of Friedman’s process. This figurative sculptural work continues his investigation into the existential meaning of the object to the existential meaning of being human, the self, relationships, wonder, and the complexity of one’s experience. Present in these works are the everyday materials and humor. As Friedman says, “the humility and humor in my work allows a space to think about the seriousness of being in and of the world.”

Tom Friedman (b. 1965, St. Louis, MO) lives and works in Massachusetts. The entrance into his philosophical investigation of the meaning of life and art is idiosyncratic, and uniquely his. He combines the use of everyday materials and objects, such as aluminum foil, Styrofoam, pencils, paper, spaghetti and plastic cups to explore the relationship between the making of art, our perception of it, and our growth of consciousness as a result. Like a scientist studying empirical and non-empirical phenomena and an object’s infinite references, Friedman analyses its imperceptible transformations.

His work has been exhibited all over the world including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, New Museum, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; Fondazione Prada, Milan; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Magasin 3, Stockholm; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv; South London Gallery, London and Mead Art Museum, Amherst.

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