Claes Oldenburg is a draftsman and sculptor who numbers among the most notable artists associated with Pop art in the 1960s. Taking an approach similar to Pop artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, and Andy Warhol, Oldenburg seized upon American consumer society and everyday objects for his subjects. Transformed by large-scale and unexpected textures and qualities, Oldenburg's "soft sculptures" of the period—for example, a monumental stuffed piece of cake—were both celebrations and satirical critiques of American culture. They were also magical and comical in the multiple identities they took and appealed to the childlike imaginations of kids and adults alike.
In the late 1960s, Oldenburg initiated an ongoing series of "Large-Scale Projects" that exploded everyday objects to monumental scale for placement in the out-of-doors as public sculpture. In addition to his voluminous drawings, sculptures, and Large-Scale Projects, Oldenburg contributed early on to the American print renaissance of the 1960s. He has since continuously made printed editions in a remarkable series of fine-art prints, posters, and ephemera.
More Works by Claes Oldenburg in the MMoCA Collection
Axsom, Richard H. and David Platzker. Printed Stuff: Prints, Posters, and Ephemera by Claes Oldenburg, A Catalogue Raisonné 1958-1996. Manchester, Vermont: Hudson Hills Press, 1997.
Oldenburg, Claes and Germano Celant. Claes Oldenburg: An Anthology. New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1995.
Claes Oldenburg, Floating Three-Way Plug, 1976, soft-ground etching and spitbite aquatint, 49 5/8 x 38 3/8 inches. Collection of Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Gift of the Artist. 1998.09 © Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.
Claes Oldenburg. © Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.