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Martin Friedman, previous director of the Walker Art Center, dies at 90

United States Architecture News - May 10, 2016 - 16:17   4760 views

Martin Friedman, the director of the Walker Art Center from 1961 to 1990, passed away May 9, 2016, at age 90. In commemoration of his pivotal role in shaping the Walker’s values, vision, and future, curator Joan Rothfuss shares her perspective on Friedman’s life and legacy.

[....] Martin’s curatorial eye was superlative, but he also was probably the best exhibition designer of any director or curator of his generation. His imaginative use of architecture, color, lighting, exhibition furniture, and multimedia made walking through his exhibitions like being transported to another world. Even when a touring exhibition came to the Walker, he made sure to put his stamp on the installation. (The staff called it “Martinizing.”) The spectacle of his exhibitions had a purpose beyond visual pleasure, however. He was passionate about making contemporary art accessible to everyone, even people who thought they didn’t know enough to understand it. “Contemporary art can be a thrilling experience,” he said. “You don’t need a course if you’re just not afraid.” He never pandered, but he was not averse to using extravagant installations to seduce those wary viewers, all in the name of sharing that thrill experience with everyone.....Continue Reading

Top Image: Martin Friedman, 2004, courtesy of Walker Art Center

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