January 27, 2023

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Artist Claes Oldenburg, known for his giant clothespin, has passed away

Artist Claes Oldenburg, known for his giant clothespin, has passed away


NOS . News

Swedish-American artist Claes Oldenburg has died at the age of 93 in his hometown of New York City. The pop art artist is world famous for his gigantic sculptures of everyday objects, which he himself called “mega-monuments”.

His work can be found in museums around the world, such as the New York Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and Kröller-Müller in Otterlo.

Oldenburg is considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century. Among his most famous works Clothespins: A fourteen-foot-tall steel clothespin has stood opposite the Philadelphia City Hall since 1976. Oldenburg is said to have joked that a municipal official should make artwork with “bulls, Greeks, and many naked girls.”

See photos of clothespins and other well-known works of Oldenburg below:

  • flickr

  • Environmental Protection Agency

    “Buried Bicycle” by Claes Oldenburg and Cosge van Bruggen in a park in Paris
  • France Press agency

  • France Press agency

  • creative commons

His work was influenced by French artists Jean Dubuffet and Marcel Duchamp, among others. In the first half of the 20th century, the latter was one of the first artists to present mass-produced everyday objects as art or folk art.

Oldenburg also moved to the forefront of art and commerce, as his work took a critical and comedic approach to everyday consumption. For example, one of his first exhibitions in 1961 was The Shop, where he displayed plaster sausages and pie slices for sale as objects of art.

Lipstick on the tracks

Oldenburg made his first “mega-monument” in 1969. It was called Lipstick (Ascending) on ​​Caterpillar TracksLipstick on caterpillars. The artwork has been on the Yale campus for more than half a century.

In the 1970s, Oldenburg met the Dutch artist Coosje van Bruggen, who worked at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. He has been involved in the creation of many sculptures made by Oldenburg since then, such as Flying Pinswhich has existed in Eindhoven since the beginning of this century. In total, the artist couple created more than 40 works together. Van Bruggen passed away in 2009.

Although Oldenburg was considered an influential pop art artist, he himself criticized this name. In a 2015 conversation with him, he said, “I always say: I change everything I find, that’s the big difference.” interview magazine. “My work is not folk art. I might start with something, but then I changed that thing. I put a lot of my thoughts and feelings into it.”