“I am for an art that takes its form from the lines of life itself, that twists and extends and accumulates and spits and drips, and is heavy and coarse and blunt and sweet and stupid as life itself.”

A prominent Pop artist, Claes Oldenburg’s signature sculptures depict everyday objects such as French fries, telephones, and hot water bottles made from soft materials like latex and canvas. Oldenburg's large-scale public installations amassed great popularity over time, many of which were created in collaboration with curator Coosjie Van Bruggen, whom he later married.

 

Born in Stockholm in 1929, the artist’s family moved to Chicago in 1936. He studied Literature and Art History at Yale University and later took fine art classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1956, he moved to New York where he was exposed to a number of artists, including Allan Kaprow and Jim Dine, as well as their Happenings. In 1961, he opened The Store, a shop in which he displayed his sculptures of mass-produced consumer goods.

 

Oldenburg has had solo exhibitions at the Moderna Museet Stockholm; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Tate Gallery, London, and retrospectives at the Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.