Hong Kong Times Square (Indoor and outdoor)
Art Basel Hong Kong, Booth 1C17
Storage by Hyundai Card
Lehmann Maupin presents a multi-city and multi-venue special presentation of Tom Friedman’s celebrated large-scale sculpture Looking Up, activated for the first time in Augmented Reality (AR). The project will officially launch on May 25 across different sites in Hong Kong, Seoul, and New York, to coincide with Art Basel Hong Kong—where Friedman’s work will be on view—and with his first solo exhibition in South Korea at Lehmann Maupin.
The project features Friedman’s Looking Up, a nearly 33-foot-high moving sculpture, rendered with sophisticated AR technology that allows users to find and activate the work through a QR code or Lehmann Maupin’s website—no app is required. Users will be able to view Friedman’s Looking Up at different sites across Hong Kong, including Hong Kong Times Square, Harbour City, and Art Basel Hong Kong; in Seoul, at Storage by Hyundai Card, Space K, and Lehmann Maupin Seoul; and in New York, outside of the gallery’s Chelsea headquarters.
Emma Son, senior director at Lehmann Maupin Seoul, shares: “We always envisioned CollectAR as a way to promote the experiential reach of our artists. In a time where art is mostly experienced on a screen or mobile device, Tom has found a way to make us look up and engage with our surroundings. By bringing his work to all these different locations at once, we are inviting a broader audience to experience contemporary art in a different way: interacting with iconic architecture, connecting broader audiences, and offering accessibility of works across borders.”
Friedman’s Looking Up is presented within Lehmann Maupin’s CollectAR Augmented Reality platform that launched in March 2022. CollectAR was born as a partnership between the gallery and entrepreneur Laura Lehmann, who has worked with HUE.LIVE to develop models and 3-D renderings. For this initiative, our goal is to give the general public access to contemporary art, in a friendly and engaging way. By allowing users to experience artworks outside of a traditional gallery space, Looking Up opens up the conversation to younger audiences across the world.
Throughout his career, Friedman has developed an important body of outdoor and public sculptures. Most are cast from maquettes rendered out of aluminum roasting pans, further cementing the artist’s uncanny ability to transform everyday materials. In the stainless steel cast version of Looking Up (2015), a figure looks to the sky, inviting viewers to stand at its feet and do the same. A larger version of the work has previously been exhibited at Rockefeller Center, New York, NY; Park Avenue, New York, NY; South Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, ILs; and the Contemporary Austin, TX, among others.
Shasha Tittmann, director at Lehmann Maupin Hong Kong, shares: “The sites of Tom Friedman’s AR activations in Hong Kong—from Times Square in Causeway Bay and Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui to Art Basel Hong Kong in the Convention and Exhibition Centre, Wan Chai—reflect the dynamic spirit of Hong Kong and offer an unparalleled connectivity and resonance with local and global visitors. Transcending their roles as commercial centers, Hong Kong Times Square and Harbour City have long served as significant stomping grounds for art and culture aficionados to experience a plethora of engaging activities, while Art Basel Hong Kong has quickly become an annual cultural fixture in the Asia-Pacific region since its launch in 2013. In addition to sitting at the crossroads of economic and cultural activities, the selected locations also capture the juxtaposition of the urban density and the adjacent natural landscape, which would heighten our examination and perception of the spaces within the city when activating Friedman’s Looking Up in the form of AR.”
The AR project coincides with Many Things All at Once, Lehmann Maupin’s debut exhibition with Friedman, who joined the gallery’s program in 2021. The show is a contemporary survey that introduces Friedman’s practice to a new geography. Spanning sculpture, installation, works on paper, and video projection, the works in Many Things All at Once feature notable elements from many of Friedman’s most recognizable pieces. In Hazmat Love (2017), two of the artist’s signature chromed figures come together in a slow dance, while in Bee (2022), a larger-than-lifesize handmade bumblebee rests high on a gallery wall, the latest in a series of hyper-realistic insect works that Friedman has been creating since the mid-1990s.
Lehmann Maupin has long been a pioneer in rethinking the traditional gallery setting and engaging opportunities for digital innovation. Since our inauguration twenty-five years ago, we’ve been championing artists who in their own right have been expanding digital as a medium, including artists like Tony Oursler and Jennifer Steinkamp. In 2021, Lehmann Maupin partnered with the crypto platform Gemini, becoming the first commercial gallery to accept crypto through the Gemini platform for artwork sales globally.