Martin Friedman: Art (re)Collecting
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Director of the Walker Art Center from 1961 to 1990, Martin Friedman (1925–2016) shifted the museum’s focus to contemporary art, a move that grew its reputation globally. Among his many accomplishments are the expansion of education programming, overseeing the construction of the 1971 Edward Larrabee Barnes–designed building, and spearheading the development of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which opened in 1988. Friedman’s dedication to the art and artists of our time—a legacy still activated today—brought critical early support to creators such as Chuck Close, Jasper Johns, and Robert Rauschenberg. In this series of previously unpublished reflections, shared with the Walker a few years before his 2016 passing, we look at Friedman’s special relationship with artists.