new-york

Tom Friedman

Feature Inc.

Most of Tom Friedman’s recent works result from some extremely obsessive process: chewing endless wads of gum, separating synthetic pillow stuffing thread by thread, or stuffing black, plastic garbage bags inside one another. Friedman, who once wound pubic hair in a perfect spiral across the face of a bar of soap, transforms single, mundane materials—toothpaste, used bubblegum, tube socks—into unlikely, often absurd forms.

Artists have exploited everyday materials since Marcel Duchamp first introduced his readymades. Friedman merely domesticates the industrial supplies favored by the Minimalists and extends the obsession with the potential of nontraditional materials evident in Dieter Roth’s chocolate and cheese sculptures, Eva Hesse’s latex and fiberglass hanging works, and Joseph Beuys’ masses of fat. Hesse and Yayoi Kusama took art-making as obsession-compulsion to extremes two decades

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