Claes Oldenburg
November 23, 2002 8:03 PM   Subscribe

Claes Oldenburg is a contemporary sculptor known for making common objects larger than life. Among other pieces, he has placed a spoon and cherry in Minneapolis, a giant clothespin in Philadelphia (the City of Brotherly Love), and last Thursday he anointed San Francisco as the City of Love.
posted by entrustNoOne (17 comments total)
i'm a big fan of oldenburg's, but was there some specific aspect or effect of his work you wanted to point out or discuss? i.e. the ambivalent reception of the cupid piece by san francisco residents, or the fact that it was commissioned by -- yuk -- gap founder donald fisher.
(or am i just being cranky?)
posted by dolface at 8:19 PM on November 23, 2002

Good point, dolface. Here's a discussion guide, with all the right questions.

Me, I like the shoestring potatoes best.
posted by LeLiLo at 8:33 PM on November 23, 2002

Claes Oldenberg shall hereby be sentenced for this atrocity, and numerous other egregious and serial offenses, which place him squarely in the category of "Swedish Enlarger", and "Swedish Softener", respectively.

The punishment shall be swift and merciless. First, rubber bands shall be shot at his naked self in a hotel room in Monaco, and then he shall be forced to plunge into a chilly swimming pool.
posted by hama7 at 8:47 PM on November 23, 2002

False. His work is delightful, and if anything, the world needs more enlarged sculptures of everyday objects.
posted by jonson at 8:58 PM on November 23, 2002

True! It's not too late for the City of San Francisco to file a class action suit for this over-priced piece of crap. I'd personally like to see Willy Brown placing the crown of thorns on Oldenberg's head, as the "artist" is whipped as he crawls across the Bay Bridge out of town.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 9:21 PM on November 23, 2002

Cleveland has an Oldenburg (just down the way from other points of interest, if anyone is interested). I've always liked the dichotomy and contradiction of it, not to mention its cheery bright color.
posted by Shane at 9:30 PM on November 23, 2002

Is that an egregious link?
posted by Shane at 9:33 PM on November 23, 2002

RJ Reynolds, false! the work was not comissioned by the city, so they have no right to sue, as much as i would LOVE -- and pay actual money -- to see oldenberg placing an oversized crown of thorns on willie brown's borsalino as the "mayor" is whipped as he crawls across the bay bridge to the people's republic of beserkeley.
(i'm really sorry, i couldn't help myself)
posted by dolface at 9:35 PM on November 23, 2002

In addition to the clothespin, Philadelphia is home to this monstrosity (at the University of Pennsylvania) Nobody likes it.
posted by mbt at 3:30 PM on November 24, 2002

I like his soft sculptures in's an Oldenburg anthology compiled by the National Gallery of Art & the Guggenheim that is quite good - check out the food sculptures - I love those Soft Fur Good Humors!
posted by madamjujujive at 3:36 PM on November 24, 2002

Uh, as long as everyone is making generalizations: we like our Spoon sculpture in Minneapolis. We believe it is a good piece of art. We welcome our new, enlarged-sculpture overlords.

We are also big fans of the Gap. Remember, the number-one cause of child poverty is childhood unemployment.

posted by subgenius at 4:01 PM on November 24, 2002

Some of his proposals for works which were never built are just as interesting as those that have been.

And even if you don't like who's funding new art or how they got their money, at least they're actually funding art. Better they do that than put their names on baseball stadiums.

I'm in favor of anything that adds thought-provoking whimsy to major cities.

and on preview, RJ Reynolds: the article in the original FPP says that the work was privately financed...the city's involvment seems to have been limited to approving a site.

and oh goodness, we've got people putting "art" in quotation marks again. (can't find original thread, more's the pity...(y'all use that word too much!))
posted by Vidiot at 4:32 PM on November 24, 2002

You just know that something's worthwhile when hama7 spits blood against it.
posted by riviera at 9:01 PM on November 24, 2002

"Clothespin" has charm, and it compliments its surroundings. "Cupid's Span" should be set it on fire.
posted by eddydamascene at 12:20 AM on November 25, 2002

Or, alternatively, just set on fire. So long as it's removed from public view.
posted by eddydamascene at 12:31 AM on November 25, 2002

I had the opportunity to see an exhibit on his works in Washington D.C. in eighth grade. I think my favorite piece was the Swiss Army Knife boat, which folded and unfolded on the hour.
posted by KoPi_42 at 4:42 AM on November 25, 2002

I got to see Oldenburg speak back in the mid-'90's at the Detroit Institute of Arts during the opening of a retrospective of his work there. Although I don't care for much of it, I will say that he was very interesting, and his stories about the modern art world were fascinating.
posted by greengrl at 6:19 AM on November 25, 2002

« Older The Portfolio. A different kind of web site.   |   Jonestown Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments