Claes Oldenburg Sculpture Installation Art Exhibition

  Claes Oldenburg is one of the famous artists in the 20th century. He expresses everyday things boldly and skillfully, and his works are rich in connotation. The Museum of Modern Art recently reviewed his early work from the 1960s and 1970s, including the Streets and Shops series and the installations The Mouse Museum and Ray Gun Wings. The first two can be said to be the pioneering works of Oldenburg’s artistic career. At the peak of his work, Oldenburg reinterpreted the relationship between painting and sculpture, and between subject and form. The “Street” series uses cardboard, burlap or newspaper to represent the rough and busy scenes of modern urban life. The “Shop” series uses plaster to create brightly colored everyday objects and food such as cigarettes, underwear and burgers that have been turned into works of art. The architectural installation works “Mouse Museum” and “Ray Gun Wing” were created in the 1970s, showing the artist’s ingenious layout and arrangement explored through various innovative experiments. While achieving the balance between collection and creation, they also broke the The boundary between everyday objects and museum collections.
  In 1956, at the age of 27, Oldenburg came to New York from his hometown of Chicago. His original ambition was to be a painter, but by 1960 he had changed his mind and turned to sculpture, producing some bold and controversial works of art. “Street” and “Store” are two serial series created by Oldenburg in the early stage. Oldenburg once said that urban scenery is worth savoring, even if it is dirty, it has its beauty and profound meaning. In 1960, the artist expressed his life experience in the Lower East Side of Manhattan through the form of sculpture, and the “Street” series of works was born. The creative inspiration comes from the dirty street scene, the streets are full of garbage, the walls are covered with graffiti, and the abandoned empty houses are waiting to be demolished. The materials are taken from waste cardboard, burlap, old newspapers and black advertising paint. The rough, irregular lines of the sculpture underscore the hectic life of the Lower East Side. When the “Street” series was first exhibited at the Judson Gallery, Oldenburg wrote in the promotional column: “I pay attention to the cities, poor people and tragic things in the real world.” Abstract real life is depicted.
  In the summer of 1960, Oldenburg took a vacation to the seaside town of Provincetown, Massachusetts, without the noise and chaos of the city. So he ditched the city-street theme for what he called non-artistic materials, substituting driftwood from the beach for cardboard and burlap. In view of the historical and cultural significance of Provincetown, the first group of Pilgrim immigrants who landed in North America settled here. Oldenburg simply assembled the driftwood into the shape of the American flag as a commemoration, and also reflected patriotism and history. commercialization.
  In 1961, Oldenburg shifted his creative focus from the street to the store, drawing materials from clothing stores, delicatessens, and grocery stores on the Lower East Side to create the “Store” series of sculptures, a combination of cheap goods and serious art. The original works are all wall-mounted reliefs, including food, clothing and other everyday items such as shirts, skirts, cigarettes, sausages, etc. He covered the plaster-soaked canvas with hexagonal wire and painted it with bright enamel paint to complete the sculpture. Oldenburg rented a store along Second Avenue in the East Side, and called it the Ray Gun Company to display his sculptures. It is open to the public from 1 pm to 6 pm from Friday to Sunday. After the store is closed, it will be used as a his studio. These sculptures are irregular blocks and uneven, which are quite different from those depicted in popular art works. Oldenburg extracts prototypes from real life, distorts, stretches, accumulates and deforms them to make rough and clumsy sculptures, so as to reflect the characteristics of life itself in the artist’s eyes. After the exhibition of “The Store”, Oldenburg planned a series of performances in the store and named it Ray Gun Theater.
  In 1962, Oldenburg was inspired to make a sculpture of the same size after seeing a display of luxury cars and pianos downtown. And because the gypsum is fragile and heavy, it is no longer suitable. With the help of his wife, who is a seamstress, Oldenburg made three large soft sculptures of a fabric burger, cake and ice cream cone. Although the subject matter is simple and common, these soft sculptures can be said to be a new attempt, soft and colorful, subverting the hard and solemn tradition of sculpture, and producing witty and grotesque effects. Oldenburg pioneered a new form of sculptural representation, recreating contemporary American life with lighthearted humor.
  Oldenburg’s inspiration for everyday objects comes from his passion for collecting commonplace objects that catch the eye. His studio shelves are filled with objects collected during his travels, as well as some experimental samples of sculpture. In 1965, Oldenburg moved his collection to a large storage room he called the Museum of Pop Art in New York. Artists treat objects in the collection as equals, with artwork and bric-a-brac equally displayed. In the 1970s, Oldenburg selected some of the collected objects to present in the architectural installation structure of “Museum of Mouse”, and later added “Ray Gun Wing”. Both epitomize the artist’s complex interpretation of popular culture. The former contains 385 items from a collection of more than a thousand items, displayed in a rat-shaped structure, a figure that has recurred in paintings and sculptures. In 1977, the follow-up exhibition of “Ray Gun Wings” was added. Unlike the “Mouse Museum” which absorbed miscellaneous and scattered items, it concentrated on displaying 258 pieces of ray gun-themed series, including brightly colored toy guns and pistol-shaped items. The spatial structure of the exhibition also corresponds to the gun-shaped objects on display. “Mouse Museum” and “Ray Gun Wing” provide the viewer with the artist’s perspective, just like standing behind him to examine the world in his eyes.
  This exhibition focuses on Oldenburg’s early sculptures and installation works, and re-examines his unique expressive techniques and creative perspectives on urban life. Common daily necessities are the subject matter of his creations, which produce special artistic effects through deformation and exaggeration. Oldenburg breaks the traditional way of sculpture art, adopts new materials, takes daily life as the theme, and presents our society and era from a new perspective.

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