Archive for November 2, 2012

Artist of the moment….Claes Oldenburg

Claes Oldenburg was born in 1929 in the  largest city in Sweden as well as the capital, Stockholm. He is known for his scupltures of ordinary everday objects. Some examples would be a sculpture of knees, a painting of an ice cream sundae, or a hamburger. Many of his works are located in public parks and he has done a great deal of public commissioned work.

Below is a clip showing the artist and his many food sculptures. His way of looking at food is similar to Wayne Thiebaud. Claes  talks about why he would rather paint than eat a hamburger!

His father was a diplomat that was stationed in New York. His father was moved to Chicago, and this is where Claes Oldenburg spent his childhood years.

The artist studied at Yale University and also took classes at the Chicago Institute of Art.

After college, he got a job as a reporter. In 1953 he became a naturalized citizen. In 1956 he returned to New York. He also worked part time in the library of the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts and Decoration. He would go on to meet such artists as Jim Dine and Red Grooms. In 1957 he started with the idea of created soft sculptures using socks and sacks stuffed with newspaper. In 1959, he began making figures and signs using paper mache.

In this clip check out a recent show featuring wide selection of works by Oldenburg made in the 1960s. Its a great selection including many food sculptures and some soft sculptures of toilets.

The artist made many collaborations with his wife Coosje Van Bruggen. Some of the duo’s themes were very large public sized sculptures of food also of musical instruments.

His first show featuring three dimensional objects was in 1959. It received excellent reviews. 1960s brought along Pop art and this movement was an additional springboard to success for the artist.

The artist also was created performance art, some of his fellow artists that performed with him were Tom Wesselman and Lucas Samaras.

In 1963 he moved to the West Coast and Los Angeles, California. In 1965 the artist started to work on ideas for large public works. At first, due to his unique subject matter, the artist received some criticism. But the public soon embraced the artist and his whimsical and fun style. In the 1970s the artist concentrated on public works and did several with his soon to be wife, Coosje Van Bruggen.  The artist has a wonderful work of a typewriter eraser sculpture made of steel and fiberglass at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. This work sold for $2.3 million dollars at a Christie’s auction.

Oldenburg has made several prints and lithographs during his career. These can be found for a few hundred to one thousand dollars at various sites such as:    ,%20CLAES

Here is a great site showing some very large size collaborations by the artist and his wife Coosje Van Bruggen:

Another great commission by the two was “Dropped Cone.” An inverted ice cream cone dropped atop a shopping mall located in Cologne, Germany.

In 2000 the artist received the National Medal for the Arts.

On line and land based gallery: A great website that has many artists and is located out of Aventure, Florida.

This artist is great for his work with “boring” subjects. When I look at his work it reminds me of also of the artist Jim Dine, another painter of “mundane” objects with fantastic results!  Below is a Jim Dine that is included in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Dine painted boring things such as spoons, ties, hearts, and bathrobes.

Try painting something “boring” around the house.