Claes Oldenburg: Give Existence in Art to Fantasy

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“My single-minded aim is to give existence to fantasy."
Claes Oldenburg was born in 1929 in Stockholm, Sweden. His father was a Swedish Consul General, and because of his job they moved to Chicago in 1936 where he became an American citizen. When he graduated Yale University in New Heaven, he took up the job as working as a reporter in 1946. Later on in 1952 Oldenburg attended Chicago Art Institute. While he was there he published some drawings in magazines and started to paint pictures. He was inspired by Abstract Expressionism. Then in 1956 he moved to New York and met Jim dine, two years later he met Alan Kaprow and a couple other artists. All of them were interested in art and pushed the question “What is art?” They started to stage “happenings”. That was the start of the Pop Art Movement. Pop Art is the products of mass media. From 1958 -59 he arranged and designed his first sculpture. After that he started to replicate food, like hamburgers, ice-cream and cakes. Oldenburg’s first exhibit was in 1958. There was a selection of his drawings that were included in a group show at the Red Grooms’ City Gallery. A year later, Oldenburg had his first one-man show. He had sculptures at the Judson Gallery. Then in 1962 he had his art work in the “News Realist” which helped define the Pop Art Movement. He also had other exhibitions in 1964, a one man show at the Sidney Janis Gallery and also in 1968 at the Museum of Modern Art. In the mid-1960s he also began making creation for huge monuments.
He is best known for his public art and making replicas of everyday objects. He is a realist and feels that art should relate to everyday life. Even though he took objects that someone would use daily and placed them out of context. For an example if the object was hard he would make it soft, if it was smooth he would turn it furry. Like an ice-cream sculpture he made out of fake fur. Or if it was small he would make the object huge. Oldenburg changed his style over the years. It included drawing, painting, film, soft sculpture, and large scale sculptures in steel.

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One famous sculpture Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen made was the Spoonbridge and Cherry created 1988 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It is made up of stainless steel and aluminum. Another famous sculpture is the Balancing Tools created in 1984. Oldenburg is an amazing artist his creativity is mind blowing. He has created many sculptures during his life time. They range from tools to food. Still today Oldenburg is a living legend.


Works Cited
1. “Pesticide Info,” 2003, Available at: www.cdpr.ce.gov: November 29, 2008.
2. Stuart M. Bennett. “Insecticides,” 2003, Available at: www.the-piedpiper.co.uk/th13.htm : November 27, 2008.


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