A Flying Visit to My Giant on a Hot Day

Looking Up by Tom Friedman (author photos)

This past weekend, I paid a visit to my giant silver friend on the shores of Lake Austin at Laguna Gloria, one of the sites of our local art museum The Contemporary Austin.

33-foot sculpture dwarfs the Driscoll Villa.

It had been a while since I had been by to see him, and I’d forgotten what a behemoth he is. At 33 feet, he soars over the palm trees that themselves dwarf the WWI-era Italianate villa of Clara Driscoll, where the museum manages a sculpture park and an art school.

My silver man is a work by Tom Friedman called Looking Up, commissioned by the museum for this site in 2013. Friedman created the model for him from crushed aluminum roasting pans, then cast the final sculpture in stainless steel. He arrived on the lawn in May 2015.

Usually when I think about my large friend, it’s to reflect on the strangeness of his other-worldly, kindly-alien-visiting-from-an-advanced-planet vibe, which exists in marked contrast to the stately Edwardian lines of the house and gardens.

When I saw him this past Sunday, though, and snapped photos of him against the blue sky, puffy clouds, and palm fronds, what struck me most was how cool and serene he looked with his head tilted toward the sky. His giant feet stood still in contemplation; he took no giant strides across the lawn. He simply looked to the sky, thinking deep thoughts. The 100-degree afternoon did not seem to bother him.

Dainty feet.

It started to get to me, though, after about 10 minutes. My deep thoughts gave way to a deep desire to return to air conditioning.

I’ll be back, Silver Man, when the temps are more kindly. Until then, keep an eye on things for me.


Published by Rebecca Johnson

Writer and editor covering arts and culture in Austin, Texas and beyond.

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