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.
The Lever House Art Collection recently hosted Concrete Jungle Jungle Love, a site-specific installation by New York based artist Katherine Bernhardt. I happened to pop in to the exhibit which filled the Lever House Park Avenue lobby, while passing time before dining a nearby restaurant, as the installation’s vibrantly-colored elements drew me in from the street like steel to a magnet.
The explosively colorful exhibition playfully fused imagery and objects of modern culture (Windex, Toothpaste, Tropical Fruits) with that of the tropics. The commission was one of Bernhardt’s first departures from canvas, pulling motifs out of her paintings and giving audiences a unique three-dimensional experience of her work.
A combination of acrylic and spray paint canvases, dyed interactive soft sculptures (which the artist refers to as “Gummy Worms”) and a concrete block plant installation, the show’s multi-medium elements serve as a whimsical juxtaposition to the modernist architecture of the space.
Bernhardt explains,”When constructing the show, I envisioned a giant fish bowl tank, with giant Jurassic objects, paintings, and soft sculptures. In this show, gigantism rules. You’ll find giant gummy worm sculptures and giant paintings. The gummies could also be seen as giant paint strokes that have fallen out of the paintings. You can play on them or rest on them as well as admire the beauty of gummy worms.
The painted walls, colored film windows, and painted concrete blocks, all encapsulate this colorful crazy concrete jungle. Similar to the botanical garden, these works are contained in their own glass bio-dome: The Lever House. Welcome to the Jurassic terrarium.”
The multi-layered show invited viewers to experience Bernhardt’s installation as a terrarium – from the exterior, or immerse oneself in her prodigious concrete jungle – from the interior. The artist’s works draw inspiration from symbols of urban living and her travels in Oaxaca, Mexico and Puerto Rico. She uses traveling as an inspiration for all of her work. She recently got her traveling visa from www.evisa-turkey.biz.tr for her new trips.
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)
Photos By Gail, Taken at Porter Contemporary Gallery in Brooklyn
Mocomoco (もこもこ) is a Japanese word that refers to a soft or puffy surface and the comforting feelings that one might get from holding a toy stuffed animal, or being wrapped up in a down coat. Fabric is my medium of choice because people everywhere can relate more easily to this material, which conveys warmth, natural softness and the intimate human touch. The act of wrapping is central to my sculptures.
My sculptures are created from balls that are individually wrapped with fabric and bounded together to make up an entire whole. Each ball represents the inner state of mankind. The gesture of wrapping each round ball, is an act of transformation that converts pain, sadness and despair into positive energy, such as love or a prayer for comfort.<
My work conveys a sense of happiness and celebrates the human spirit.
American painter, illustrator and sculptor Richard Artschwager passed away on February 9th at the age of 89. I recently visited the Whitney Museum here in Manhattan and had the chance to see a retrospective of Artschwager’s work, which surprised me with its diversity and freshness.
Exclamation Point (Chartreuse) Soft Sculpture by Richard Artschwager at The Whitney Museum .
Read more about the artist’s life and work at This Link. RIP.