Claes Oldenburg has consistently embraced contradiction to transform and animate everyday objects. In his art, hard becomes soft, miniscule becomes monumental and, as in Soft Calendar (1962), flat becomes three-dimensional. Oldenburg’s stuffed fabric sculptures originated in 1962 as props to his art events, or Happenings, and evolved into independent artworks. The giant numbers of Soft Calendar are sensuously rounded and pillow-like. Each Sunday is called out in brilliant red, while the remaining days of the week are coated in white enamel. Photographic documentation suggests that Soft Calendar was assembled by Oldenburg and is partner, Patty Mucha, at Green Gallery in 1962, in preparation for the opening of his solo exhibition.
Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
Philadelphia has no shortage of impressive public artworks and engaging street art scattered all over the city, and it’s fun to spend a day just wandering the different neighborhoods and checking it all out if you happen be visiting. Most notably, the city is also home to four large-scale public sculptures by legendary Pop artist Claes Oldenburg — more than any other city in the world. I happened to walk by one of those iconic Oldenburg works — a 51-foot high Paint Brush sculpture entitled Paint Torch, and its accompanying 6-foot Red Paint Blob located just below it on the sidewalk — when was in Philly on a recent weekend. Paint Torch was installed on the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) Lenfest Plaza on August 20th, 2011.
Paint Torch Can be Viewed Up Close at 118-128 N. Broad Street, just across the Street from the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.
A primary reason that I chose “Nude Beach,” by California-based pop trio Roses, for this week’s Video Clip, is specifically because the video contains no nudity! Yeah, they didn’t take the easy way out with a bunch of lazy nudity, that’s for sure. Instead, the first half of the video shows the guys (their names Juan Velasquez, Victor, Herrera and Marc Steinberg) peeking out from behind leafy branches in a lush garden, or laying in beds of flowers, over music that fondly brings both The Smiths and Depeche Mode to mind. Marc’s sultry vocals address a figure who is addicted to sunbathing, but they also speak to a larger acknowledgment of our own mortality and within that realization urge us to take risks. Maybe that is why I felt like I was watch a commercial for reruns of Six Feet Under. Or maybe not.
I also love that the cover art for the group’s upcoming debut album, Camera Trouble (out October 28th, 2016 on Group Tightener Records) resembles a collection of cool stuff that you might see in Claes Oldenburg’sMouse Museum. If you know what the means, great; if you don’t, it doesn’t matter. Enjoy!
“I work with very simple things that I come across walking to work,” Claes Oldenburg explained in 1964, “such as a certain kind of pastry. . . or certain kinds of displays or presentations and advertisements that I naturally come across as part of the urban landscape.” Pastry Case, I replicates just this sort of everyday sighting. The desserts are presented for the viewers enjoyment on real dishes, heightening the tension between attempting evocation of edible goods and their obvious artifice. Oldenburg later described this tension as a way of “frustrating expectations: the food, of course, can’t really be eaten, so that it’s an imaginary activity which emphasizes the fact that it is, after all, not real – that it’s art, whatever that strange thing is of doing something only for itself rather than for function.”
The triangular mass of Claes Oldenburg’s Giant BLT (Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich”)1963, is actually constructed from many smaller sculptural components including wood slabs, stuffed cushions and fabric pieces, which must be restacked each time the work is shown, allowing ample room for creative variation.
In the above video, the Whitney Museum’s curator supervises and discusses the installation of Giant BLT, and how Oldenburg’s work invites the viewer to look at the world with “fresh eyes.”
Photographed in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Former Home in the Breuer Building on Madison Avenue
New Photo Added 9/7/2020 (Taken at the Whitney Museum on Gansevoort Street, NYC)
Do you like sharks? I sure do. Amy Li Projects is currently hosting a solo exhibition with a fun shark theme: Mechanical Shark Week, featuring all new paintings by one of NYCs most popular Street Artists/ Taggers, Beau. Shark Week!
I didn’t write down all of the official names of the paintings, so I just made up names that I think describe what is happening in the picture, and then I captioned each photo accordingly, so please enjoy that.
Shark at a Picnic
Beau’s paintings in this series include many references to other modern and contemporary pop artists, such as Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Keith Haring and Claes Oldenburg. Beau (who in person, strongly resembles actor James Franco) admits that he enjoys working “in variable styles and mediums,” so of course the influences are going to creep in there. And for that, we say, Good On Ya!
Heartbroken Captain America with Shark Sidekick!
Beau says that having dexterity with a broad range of genres allows him to render styles most fitting for any environment. “A lot of my work grows out of necessity,” he reveals. “Usually a client steers me towards something they feel, or that strikes them.”
Bart and The Shark
He continues, “I hold myself to a standard approach that an artist must practice in multiple mediums to encourage a rich growth in perception and technique, and in a classically trained manner.” He also just likes to just ‘let the spirit move him,’ as they say, while “trying to find new ways to break the rules that have already been broken many times over.” You Go, Beau.
Floor Buster Shark
“I also like the challenge of completing paintings and or projects of any media within my reach,” he concludes.
I Don’t Know What This Means
Shark and Bunny at the Greek Diner
As you can see, these are all pretty darn great, and the price point is around $300 – $500, so Beau’s work is very affordable for anyone who wants to build their collection with quality pieces from a very up and coming young artist.
Beau’s Mechanical Shark Week will be on Exhibit Through June 3rd, 2015 at Amy Li Projects, Located at 166 Mott Street in Chinatown, NYC.
Leila Heller’s multi-floor midtown gallery is wrapping up its Pop Sculpture / Pop Culture exhibit on Saturday, but we had one last chance to check it out this week, when WhiteWall Magazine sponsored a fun party encompassing the three floors on which the exhibit is installed. Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne made sure that the open bar was stocked with its delicious Brut Rose, and every body had a great time!
Pop Sculpture / Pop Culture is an exhibition of select three-dimensional works from leaders of the Pop Art sculpture movement, on view since September 18th and closing November 15th at Heller’s 43 West 57th Street location.
Yayoi Kusama, Narcissus Garden
The exhibition presents a wildly impressive selection of iconic sculptures by the most prominent Pop sculptors from the 1960s to the contemporary artists whom they have influenced.
Here are few of our favorite pieces from the show!
Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Soup Can (Chicken with Rice)
Robert Indiana, AMOR
Keith Haring, Untitled (Two Dancing Figures)
Jeff Koons, New Hoover Deluxe Shampoo Polisher
Claes Oldenburg, Ice Cream Display
Roy Lichtenstein, Brushstroke Chair & Ottoman
Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Excessive Sensual Indulgence
Shelter Serra, Nine Fake Guns
Bertozi & Casoni Cover
The above is a glazed ceramic replica (and embellishment) of Warhol’s iconic Brillo Box. Clever!
Keith Haring, TV Head; Rachel Lee Hovnanian, Body Armor
Parviz Tanavoli, Heech
If you don’t already have plans for Saturday the 15th of November, maybe the Leila Heller Gallery at 43 West 57th street (between 5th and 6th Avenues) is the place to be?