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Claes Oldenburg (born January 28, 1929) is a sculptor, best known for his public art installations typically featuring very large replicas of everyday objects. Another theme in his work is soft sculpture versions of everyday objects.

Biography

Oldenburg was born in Stockholmmarker, Swedenmarker, the son of a Swedish diplomat. As a child he and his family moved to United Statesmarker in 1936, first to New Yorkmarker then, later, to Chicagomarker where he graduated from the Latin School of Chicagomarker. He studied at Yale Universitymarker from 1946 to 1950, then returned to Chicago where he studied under the direction of Paul Wieghardt at the Art Institute of Chicagomarker until 1954.

While further developing his craft, he worked as a reporter at the City News Bureau of Chicago. He also opened his own studio and, in 1953, became a naturalized citizen of the United States. His first recorded sales of artworks were at the 57th Street Art Fair in Chicago, where he sold 5 items for a total price of $25. He moved back to New York Citymarker in 1956. There he met a number of artists, including Jim Dine, Red Grooms, and Allan Kaprow, whose Happenings incorporated theatrical aspects and provided an alternative to the abstract expressionism that had come to dominate much of the art scene.

The most memorable aspects of Oldenburg's works are perhaps, the colossal sculptures that he has made. Sculptures, though quite large, often have interactive capabilities. One such interactive early sculpture was a soft sculpture of a tube of lipstick which would deflate unless a participant re-pumped air into it. In 1974, this sculpture, Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks, was redesigned in a sturdier aluminum form, the giant lipstick being placed vertically atop tank treads. Originally installed in Beinecke Plaza at Yale, it now resides in the Morse Collegemarker courtyard.

Many of Oldenburg's giant sculptures of mundane objects elicited public ridicule before being embraced as whimsical, insightful, and fun additions to public outdoor art. In the 1960s he became associated with the Pop Art movement and attended many so-called happenings, which were performance art related productions of that time. The name he gave to his own productions was "Ray Gun Theatre". His first wife -(1960–1970) Pat Muschinski who sewed many of his early soft sculptures, was a constant performer in his happenings. This brash, often humorous approach to art, was at great odds with the prevailing sensibility that, by its nature, art dealt with "profound" expressions or ideas. But Oldenburg's spirited art found first a niche then a great popularity that endures to this day.

He has collaborated with Dutch/American pop sculptor Coosje van Bruggen since 1976. They were married in 1977.

In 1988, he and van Bruggen collaborated to create the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherrymarker sculpture for the Walker Art Centermarker in Minneapolis, MNmarker that remains a staple of the Minneapolis Sculpture Gardenmarker as well as a classic image of the city.

In addition to freestanding projects, he occasionally contributes to architectural projects, most notably the former Chiat/Day advertising agency headquarters in the Venice district of Los Angeles, California—the main entrance is a pair of giant black binoculars. The advertising agency DDB is the current tenant.

Another well known construction is the Free Stampmarker in downtown Cleveland, Ohio. This Free Stamp has a small, yet energetic cult following.

In 2001, Oldenburg and van Bruggen created 'Dropped Cone', a large upturned ice cream cone, which can be found on top of a shopping centre in Cologne, Germany.

Gallery

Image:Soft Bathtub.jpg|Soft Bathtub (Model)—Ghost Version by Claes Oldenburg 1966, acryllic and pencil on foam-filled canvas with wood, cord, and plaster. Hirshhorn Museummarker, Washington, DCmarker.Image:Typewriter Eraser, Scale X.jpg|Typewriter Eraser, Scale X, by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen
1999, painted stainless steel and Fiberglas
National Gallery of Artmarker, Washington, DCmarker

Image:Crusoe umbrella.jpg|Crusoe Umbrella by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, 1979, Cor-Ten steel painted with polyurethane enamel. Public art located in Nollen Plaza, Des Moines, IowamarkerImage:City hall and clothespin.JPG|Clothespin by Claes Oldenburg, 1976. Public art displayed near Philadelphia City Hallmarker in Philadelphiamarker. The form of the sculpture is a visual pun referencing the tower of City Hall.Image:Middsbottle37.JPG|The Bottle of Notes sculpture in Middlesbroughmarker UKFile:Claes Oldenburg, 1990.jpg|Pencil signature of Claes Oldenburg from 1990Image:Dropped cone Cologne.jpg|Dropped Cone by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, 2001. Situated on top of a shopping centre in the Neumarkt area of Cologne, Germany.


Books

  • Busch, Julia M., A Decade of Sculpture: the New Media in the 1960s (The Art Alliance Press: Philadelphia; Associated University Presses: Londonmarker, 1974) ISBN 0-87982-007-1
  • Axsom, Richard H., Printed Stuff: Prints, Poster, and Ephemera by Claes Oldenburg A Catalogue Raisonne 1958-1996 (Hudson Hills Press: 1997) ISBN 1-555951-23-6
  • Oldenburg, Claes Raw Notes: Documents and Scripts of the Performances: Stars, Moveyhouse, Massage, The Typewriter, with annotations by the author. (The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Designmarker: Halifax, 2005) ISBN 0-919616-43-7
  • Gianelli, Ida and Beccaria, Marcella (editors) Claes Oldenburg Coosje van Bruggen: Sculpture by the Way Fundació Joan Mirómarker 2007
  • Valentin, Eric, Claes Oldenburg, Coosje van Bruggen. Le grotesque contre le sacré, Paris, collection Art et artistes, Gallimard, 2009. ISBN 978-2-07-078627-5


References

  1. David McCracken, "The Art Fair That's Been In the Picture the Longest", Chicago Tribune, June 5th, 1987, page 3
  2. http://www.oldenburgvanbruggen.com/largescaleprojects/droppedcone.htm Dropped Cone


External links




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