Mad. Sq. Park Honors Martin Friedman
with a Historic Event to Benefit Mad. Sq. Art
On Thursday, May 31, 2012 more than 300 art world leaders gathered at New York City’s landmark Prince George Ballroom to celebrate Martin Friedman’s lifelong commitment to contemporary art and artists. The evening was an exciting reunion of artists, museum professionals, arts administrators, curators, collectors, gallerists and friends whose lives and work have intersected with Martin throughout his 60-year career. From his directorship at the Walker Art Center, to his ongoing role as an influential advisor of the Park’s Mad. Sq. Art Committee, Martin’s tireless dedication to the arts earned him the honored designation as the “father of the modern sculpture park”. Martin is a true inspiration that embodies the spirit of the Mad. Sq. Art program, and through his thoughtful guidance he was instrumental in bringing a wide range of artists to Madison Square Park, including Richard Deacon, Mark di Suvero, Antony Gormley, Jene Highstein, Charles Long, Jacco Olivier, Roxy Paine, Jaume Plensa, Alison Saar, and Ursula von Rydingsvard, among others.
Over an indulgent meal catered by SD26, the momentous evening began with remarks from Madison Square Park Conservancy President Debbie Landau and Chairman of the Board David Berliner. The program continued with special tributes from Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art Adam D. Weinberg, artist Claes Oldenburg, Executive Director of the Walker Art Center Olga Viso, artists Frank Stella and Christo, Director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden Richard Koshalek, and artists David Hockney, Chuck Close, and Ursula von Rydingsvard.
The evening also included a special surprise performance by composer Philip Glass who performed Metamorphosis No. 2, which was introduced by Kate D. Levin, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer closed the evening with a reinterpretation of his Mad. Sq. Art 2008 interactive light exhibition, Pulse Park. Lozano-Hemmer’s installation incorporated the physical heartbeat of its participants, including the evening’s honoree, Martin and his wife, Mickey.
Artists who gathered to celebrate Martin’s achievements and the Mad. Sq. Art program included: Richard Artschwager, John Baldessari, Jennifer Bartlett, Mel Chin, Christo, Chuck Close, Petah Coyne, Richard Deacon, Rachel Feinstein, Teresita Fernández, Jackie Ferrara, Orly Genger, Jene Highstein, David Hockney, Bryan Hunt, Mel Kendrick, Donald Lipski, Charles Long, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Claes Oldenburg, Roxy Paine, Martin Puryear, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Alison Saar, Lucas Samaras, Paula Scher, Joel Shapiro, Judith Shea, Cindy Sherman, Pat Steir, Frank Stella, Mark di Suvero, Leo Villareal, William Wegman, and Lawrence Weiner.
Mad. Sq. Art was thrilled at the success of the event and the tremendous support for Martin. A selection of press coverage on the event can be found here:
Art in America
NY Social Diary
Guest of a Guest
All images courtesy of Ben Gabbes and Carly Otness/BFANYC.COM