Claes Oldenburg: 22 cool facts

By Gwylym Owen

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Claes Oldenburg (born January 28, 1929) is a Swedish-born American sculptor, best known for his public art installations typically featuring large replicas of unknown objects. Another theme in his ham it up is soft sculpture versions of unmemorable objects. Many of his works were made in collaboration when his wife, Coosje van Bruggen, who died in 2009; they had been married for 32 years. Oldenburg lives and works in New York.

In 2002, New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art held a retrospective of Oldenburg and Van Brugen’s paintings; the same year, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibited a series of his sculptures on the roof of the museum. Oldenburg also created a series of concept drawings as part of his series of giant monuments. With Van Bruggen, Oldenburg created large-scale sculptures for the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, such as the Spoon Bridge and the Cherry (1985-88), as well as a soft, large-scale shuttlecock sculpture, especially for his 1995 work in A retrospective of his work at the Guggenheim Museum, New York. York City. Oldenburg and Van Bruggen continued their work into the 21st century with various sculptures, including Fallen Cone (2001), which was installed on the roof of a shopping mall in Cologne, Germany.

As a gift to the museum, Oldenburg and Van Brugen created their equestrian sculptural version in 1991. The brightly coloured sculptures are replicas of sweets, vegetables and meat and are displayed in a shop rented and used as a studio in Oldenburg. In one such performance, World’s Fair II (1962), Oldenburg hung a soft sculpture depicting New York’s upside-down skyline from the ceiling of a rented window in front of the audience. During many of the performances, the artist and Patty tumbled or danced on a floor full of debris.

As we approach its ninth decade, Oldenburg has slowed down its once frantic pace of productivity, but is still hard at work on community projects and large-scale sculptures.

As a child, he was fascinated by the idea of ​​public monuments and began designing colossal sculptures for famous public places that he never thought would be created. But when life met art in 1969, the first large-scale monument – Lipstick (rising) on ​​caterpillars – was actually fabricated as part of the Vietnam War protest that swept the Yale campus, Oldenburg’s alma mater. By 1960, Oldenburg had created sculptures containing simply depicted figures, letters and signs inspired by the Lower East Side area in which he lived, made from materials such as cardboard, canvas and newspapers; in 1961, he changed his method, creating sculptures of fine mesh, covered with plaster-impregnated canvas and enamel paint, depicting household items – clothes and food. Oldenburg’s 1966 exhibition in New York included, in addition to his soft sculptures, a series of drawings and watercolors, which he called Colossal Monuments.

Writing was Oldenburg’s main interest at the time, so when he returned to Chicago he worked as a journalist until 1952, when he enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago to study art. From 1955 to 1956, Oldenburg was an art editor and illustrator for Chicago Magazine. One of his duties at the time was drawing cartoons for magazines. Oldenburg continued his studies at Yale University, then worked for the City News Bureau in Chicago, and attended the Art Institute of Chicago before moving to New York in 1953.

For some of his events, Oldenburg created huge objects from cloth stuffed with paper or rags. Oldenburg also created humor by depicting soft objects (such as baked potatoes) with hard materials, or hard objects (such as bathtubs) with soft materials. Oldenburg objects embody reality and become a source of humor.

Oldenburg’s many large-scale sculptures depicting mundane objects were ridiculed even before they were accepted. Iconic examples of Oldenburg’s early sculptures on display include the Giant BLT (Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich) (1963), French Fries and Ketchup (1963), and Soft Toilet (1966). Many of Oldenburg’s colossal monuments were made with the help of a factory specializing in the construction of large sculptures. These and other early sculptures are complemented by several dozen works on paper from Oldenburg and Oldenburg with van Bruggen.

An entire room is dedicated to a series of sculptures of musical instruments by Oldenburg and van Bruggen in a presentation entitled “The Music Room”. Inspired by the Mies van der Rohe Farnsworth House and the Philip Johnson Glass House. Collection of paintings by Claes Thuret Oldenburg (exhibition brochure). Contemporary painters and sculptors as engravers (exhibition catalog).

Contemporary American Prints and Drawings from the 1940s to the 1980s (Exhibition Brochure). Images from American Painting and Sculpture, 1950s-1980s (Exhibition Catalogue). Collection of American art since 1945 at the Museum of Modern Art (Exhibition Catalog). American Pop Art from the John and Kimiko Powers Collection (exhibition catalogue).

A selection of art from three generations of the twentieth century (exhibition catalog). American Drawings of the Twentieth Century from the collection of the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation. Selected works from the collection of Carter Burden (exhibition catalog).

An American Odyssey 1945/1980 [The Modernism Debate] (exhibition catalog). Texts by George Cohen, Jean Dubuffet, Richard L. Feigen and Oldenburg. Recent works by Arman, Dine, Falstrom, Marisol, Oldenburg, Sigal and Sidney Janis (exhibition catalog). Screwarch project commissioned by the Boijmans-van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam, 1978–82 (exhibition catalog).

A painting by Patty Oldenburg entitled “Pat Reading in Bed,” Lenox, 1959, [28] is in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Many of his early soft sculptures were sewn by his first wife (1960-1970) Patty Mucha, who was a permanent translator of her activities. The soft sculptures were made by Oldenburg’s first wife, a mischievous artist and poet named Patty Mucha, whom she met at art school.

His father was a Swedish diplomat in New York at the time, and in 1936 he was named consul general of Sweden in Chicago, where Oldenburg grew up while attending a Latin school in Chicago. Born January 28, 1929 in Stockholm, Sweden, the family immigrated to the United States in 1936.

His refusal to see abstract art as mundane and boring, and his invention of many new forms, including installations and giant soft sculptures, made him a Pop artist in the first place – a term too narrow to encompass his everything from architecture to film range of activities.

Shortly before this, Jasper Jones began to paint the American flag from edge to edge, creating icons not of the images in the paintings but of the objects themselves. Oldenburg was shocked when formal orthodoxy erupted in studios across Manhattan. Oldenburg had a passion for life that he showed in many of his works, starting with plaster replicas of these foods. Claes Toure Oldenburg, full name Claes Toure Oldenburg (born January 28, 1929 in Stockholm, Sweden) is a Swedish-born American Pop Art sculptor known for his Known for giant soft sculptures of everyday objects.

Oldenburg and Cussier van Bruggen jointly received honorary degrees from CalArts, San Francisco, CA in 1996; Teesside University, Middlesbrough, UK, 1999; Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax Esther, Nova Scotia, 2005; Detroit Institute for Creative Studies, Michigan, 2005 and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 2011. Awards they collaborated on include the New York Sculpture Center Award for Excellence in Sculpture (1994); the Nathaniel S. Saltonstall Award, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (1996); the Education Partnership Award, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2002) ); and Medal, Institute of Fine Arts, Boston (2004). Before Van Brugens’ tragic untimely death in 2009, they traveled the world creating colossal public sculptures that required advanced technology and great diplomatic skills to overcome political and economic obstacles.

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