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Claes Oldenburg

Oldenburg, Claes (klăs) [key], 1929–, Swedish-American artist, b. Stockholm. Usually considered part of the pop art movement, Oldenburg explores the ironic and humorous aspects of common objects by grossly distorting them in scale, shape, and material. He is noted for soft sculptures of stuffed cloth (e.g., Soft Hamburger, 1962; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto) and giant objects (e.g., Giant Saw, Hard Version, 1969; Vancouver Art Gall.). His gigantic monument, Lipstick, was erected at Yale in 1969. Since the 1970s many of his works have been monumental outdoor installations (e.g., colossal binoculars in Los Angeles, an enormous clothespin in Philadelphia, and huge shuttlecocks in Kansas City) and most were executed in collaboration with his second wife, the Dutch artist and curator Coosje van Bruggen (1942–2009). Oldenburg's work is represented in many major public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum, both in New York City.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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