13. Tom Friedman Brings “Looking Up” to Park Avenue

Untapped Cities has often encouraged readers “Don’t Forget to Look up.” So when we heard that Tom Friedman’s whimsical thirty-three foot tall figure titled “Looking Up” was heading to New York, we craned our necks to learn more. “Looking Up” is part of a series which includes “Looking Up” 2012, first seen in London at just over thirty-three inches tall. An earlier version featured the figure relieving himself in a corner. “Looking Up” 2015 is among the largest of these works, and was acquired by The Contemporary Austin. New York will be receiving a similar thirty-three foot sculpture in January.

Initially carved from rudimentary styrofoam, the sculpture is covered in crushed aluminum foil roasting pans, and molding created for lost wax casting. The figure is then converted to stainless steel. Friedman’s rep and Director at the Luhring Augustine, Lauren Wittels, said that “Looking Up” will provide New Yorkers with “a center of respite and contemplation in the midst of an exceptionally busy and hectic part of town.” The figure gazes up to the sky with a look of both awe and surprise. Looking up can have a different meaning to different people in different countries, but in the end, we are all looking up at the same sky. The artist hopes that you will join the figure in looking up with the same feeling of whimsy and wonder as his installation.

“Looking Up” will be on view from late January through June 2016, located on Park Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets.