Oldenburg, Claes

Oldenburg, Claes

▪ American artist
in full  Claes Thure Oldenburg  
born Jan. 28, 1929, Stockholm, Sweden
 Swedish-born American Pop-art sculptor, best known for his giant soft sculptures of everyday objects.

      Much of Oldenburg's early life was spent in the United States, Sweden, and Norway, a result of moves his father made as a Swedish consular official. He was educated at Yale University (1946–50), where writing was his main interest, and he worked from 1950 to 1952 as an apprentice reporter for the City News Bureau in Chicago. In 1952–54 he attended the school of the Art Institute of Chicago and in 1953 he opened a studio, doing freelance illustrating for magazines. Oldenburg also gained U.S. citizenship in 1953. In 1956 he moved to New York City, where he became fascinated with the elements of street life: store windows, graffiti, advertisements, and trash. An awareness of the sculptural possibilities of these objects led to a shift in interest from painting to sculpture. In 1960–61 he created “The Store,” a collection of painted plaster copies of food, clothing, jewelry, and other items. Renting an actual store, he stocked it with his constructions. In 1962 he began creating a series of happenings (Happening), i.e., experimental presentations involving sound, movement, objects, and people. For some of his happenings Oldenburg created giant objects made of cloth stuffed with paper or rags. In 1962 he exhibited a version of his store in which there were huge canvas-covered, foam-rubber sculptures of an ice-cream cone, a hamburger, and a slice of cake.

      These interests led to the work for which Oldenburg is best known: soft sculptures. Like other artists of the Pop-art movement, he chose as his subjects the banal products of consumer life. He was careful, however, to choose objects with close human associations, such as bathtubs, typewriters, light switches, and electric fans. In addition, his use of soft, yielding vinyl gave the objects human, often sexual, overtones. Oldenburg's “Giant Soft Fan” was installed in the U.S. Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal, and his work was also exhibited at Expo 70 in Ōsaka, Japan.

      An exhibition of Oldenburg's work in 1966 in New York City included, in addition to his soft sculptures, a series of drawings and watercolours that he called “Colossal Monuments.” His early monumental proposals remained unbuilt (such as the giant vacuum cleaner for the Battery in New York City, 1965; “Bat Spinning at the Speed of Light” for his alma mater, the Latin School of Chicago, 1967; and a colossal “Windshield Wiper” for Chicago's Grant Park, 1967); but in 1969 his “Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks” was placed surreptitously on the Yale University campus, remaining there until 1970, when it was removed to be rebuilt for its permanent home at Morse College, elsewhere on the campus. This began a series of successes, such as “Clothespin” (1976) in Philadelphia, “Colossal Ashtray with Fagends” at Pompidou Centre in Paris, and “Batcolumn” (1977), provided by the art-in-architecture program of the federal government for its Social Security Administration office building in Chicago.

      In 1977 Oldenburg married Coosje van Bruggen, his second wife. The couple began to collaborate on commissions, and from 1981 her signature also appeared on their work. They worked with architect Frank Gehry on the Main Street Project (1975–84) in Venice, Calif., and Camp Good Times (1984–85) in the Santa Monica Mountains. With van Bruggen, Oldenburg created a soft sculpture of an oversized shuttlecock specially for a 1995 retrospective of his work at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Oldenburg, Claes — (1/28/1929 Stockholm ) (Sweden / USA)    Sculptor. Studied at Yale University and the Art Institute of Chicago with Paul Wieghardt. Renowned modernist sculptor best known for his large public sculptures, especially gigantic versions of everyday… …   Dictionary of erotic artists: painters, sculptors, printmakers, graphic designers and illustrators

  • Oldenburg,Claes Thure — Oldenburg, Claes Thure. Born 1929. Swedish born American sculptor best known for his “soft sculptures” of household objects made from stuffed vinyl and canvas. * * * …   Universalium

  • Oldenburg, Claes —  (1929–) Swedish born American sculptor …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Oldenburg, Claes (Thure) — born Jan. 28, 1929, Stockholm, Swed. Swedish born U.S. Pop art sculptor. The son of a consular official, he spent part of his early life in the U.S. He graduated from Yale University and attended the Art Institute of Chicago before doing… …   Universalium

  • Oldenburg, Claes (Thure) — (n. 28 ene. 1929, Estocolmo, Suecia). Escultor del pop art estadounidense de origen sueco. Hijo de un diplomático, pasó parte de su juventud en EE.UU. Se graduó en la Universidad de Yale, y asistió al Art Institute of Chicago antes de realizar… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Claes Oldenburg — Birth name Claes Oldenburg Born January 28, 1929 (1929 01 28) (age 82) Stockholm, Sweden Nationality …   Wikipedia

  • Claes Oldenburg — Giant Pool Balls , Münster, 1977 Nacimiento 28 de enero de 1929 (82 años) …   Wikipedia Español

  • Claes Thure Oldenburg — Claes Oldenburg (* 28. Januar 1929 in Stockholm als Claes Thure Oldenburg) gehört neben Andy Warhol und Roy Lichtenstein zu den bedeutendsten Vertretern der amerikanischen Pop Art. Besonders bekannt wurde er durch Skulpturen, die aus „banalen“… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Claes Thure Oldenburg — Claes Oldenburg Pour les articles homonymes, voir Oldenburg. Claes Oldenburg: Giant Pool Balls (Münster, 1977) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • OLDENBURG (C.) — OLDENBURG CLAES (1929 ) «Drôles, touchantes et absurdes», selon Margit Rowell dans le catalogue de l’exposition Qu’est ce que la sculpture moderne? , «les œuvres d’Oldenburg illustrent de façon éclatante la banalité, la vulgarité et l’inconstance …   Encyclopédie Universelle

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