In the 1990s conceptual artist Tom Friedman wowed the art world with
sly sculptures made out of junk: toothpicks, sugar cubes, packing
peanuts. Some of his work was downright rude; he once placed a sample
of his feces on a pedestal, to the amusement of
critics, if not necessarily the public.
Based on Matisse’s painting La Danse, the sculpture is twenty-two feet wide and depicts eleven figures circling wildly. It’s cast in stainless steel, but up close you can see that the mold is made from crushed aluminum roasting pans. You can even read the manufacturer’s label imprinted on the pans.
Since the dancers were installed last fall, students have been inspired to adorn them in hats and scarves, and during a blizzard, one dancer was transformed into a snowman. When students in a dance class were instructed to go outside and find something to dance with, they couldn’t resist all those shiny metal partners.
The artist is delighted, says Conklin: “He has quite the sense of humor. He loves the image of students dancing with it.”
Photograph by Erik Gould.