Artist Stories is about artists with whom Martin Friedman worked and developed friendships, and offers insight into their creative processes. The book is loosely chronological, beginning with the late 1950s and continuing to the present. In it, Friedman tells of a 1959 visit to Georgia O’Keeffe’s adobe house and studio in Abiquiu, New Mexico, of Isamu Noguchi’s Imaginary Landscapes (1978) exhibit at the Walker, and describes Louise Nevelson’s Spring Street house as a walk-in sculpture where, with every visit, she revealed something more of the intuitive process by which she formed her walls and columns. He also discusses the anthropomorphic character of Claes Oldenburg’s subject matter and posing for George Segal, a sculptor, Friedman asserts, who always thought in painterly terms. Other artists considered include Lydia Benglis, Joseph Cornell, David Hockney, Sol Lewitt, Barry Le Va, Nam June Paik, and Roxy Paine.
Martin Friedman was director of the Walker Art Center for three decades, where he oversaw the development of its collection, originated the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and organized numerous exhibitions. His most recent book is Close Reading: Chuck Close and the Artist Portrait (Abrams, 2005). He contributed articles to Art in America, Sculpture, and Artforum, and wrote essays for exhibition catalogues issued by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.