Tom Friedman “Up in the Air”

Produced by Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall in collaboration with Skira, 2013.

Exhibition catalogue nr 47
100 pages, colour. Richly illustrated. Hard cover.
Language: English
Book design: Lars Fuhre
Photo: Christian Saltas
ISBN 978-88-572-1894-6 (Trade edition) ISBN 978-88-572-1863-2 (Museum edition)

Order from Adlibris (Only addresses in Sweden)

The book, richly illustrated with previously unpublished photographs and sketches, give a unique insight into Tom Friedman’s largest artwork made for a solo exhibition. In the monumental work Up in the Air Friedman transforms everyday objects such as toothpicks and toilet paper into extraordinary works of art. Made for a major retrospective at Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall, ”Up in the Air” consists of nearly a thousand meticulously handcrafted objects.

Essay about Tom Friedman by art historian Charlotte Eyerman. Preface by David Neuman. Text by curator Richard Julin based on conversations with the artist during the preparatory stages the exhibition at Magasin 3 and continuing during the publication of this book. The book is published by Skira, one of the leading international publishers of art, architecture, photography and design books.

Art, for me, is a context to slow the viewer’s experience from their everyday life in order to think about things they haven’t thought about. Or to think in a new way. – Tom Friedman

Friedman asks fundamentally philosophical, and specifically epistemological, questions about how we know what we know, and by extension, how we see what we see or perceive what we see. His aim, in his words, is to “slow down the process of looking,” precisely because we live in a world of information overload. Perhaps human experience has always accommodated intellectual and sensory overload. Our postmodern world has its own endless military conflicts and various tulipesque manias: the stock market crash of 1988, the dot-com bubble of the mid- and late 1990s, the subprime mortgage crisis (and related, concomitant on-going crises) unleashed in 2008. Now, however, these crises are documented and communicated by a 24-hour news cycle with global and instantaneous reach and seem to be a different animal altogether.


Up in the Air, Tom Friedman’s new work that debuts at Magasin 3 on the occasion of an exhibition by the same name, takes the form of an enormous still life. It is the centerpiece of an exhibition that showcases Friedman’s extremely varied production. Friedman’s oeuvre celebrates diversity of form and materials, and resists easy categorization. He is at once a sculptor, a draughtsman, a painter, a photographer, a participant in “new media,” and a conceptual artist. His materials tend to be drawn from the mundane and the familiar, and are then transformed by Friedman’s “mad scientist” imagination. He makes works that are dazzling in their technical skill and discipline, while seemingly simple or straightforward. He has a magician’s love for sleight of hand and the trickster’s impulse to remind us that things are not what they seem. Friedman’s works invite questions about what is real, about how we see. They beg questions that are sometimes benign and gentle, and sometimes menacing, and often these notes are struck within the same works.

Charlotte Eyerman, Art Historian and Curator