Posts Tagged ‘Tom Wesselman’

Sculpture | Early Oldenburg

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Claes Oldenburg: The Street and The Store
Claes Oldenburg: Mouse Museum/Ray Gun Wing

14th April – 5th August, 2013
Museum of Modern Art
New York City, USA

Claes Oldenburg
Typewriter Eraser
14th April – 5th August, 2013
Christie’s Sculpture Garden
New York City, USA

Claes Oldenburg’s early work, The Street (1960) – an installation that conjures the gritty and chaotic atmosphere of downtown New York City – and The Store (1961-64) – a large group of handmade, brightly painted sculptures depicting a myriad of commercial products and foodstuffs – redefined the concept of sculpture, putting him on the road to establishing himself as one of the 20th century’s most important artists. Both pieces, along with Mouse Museum and Ray Gun Wing, created in the 1970s as self-contained ‘museums’ to house careful arrangements of the artist’s personal archives of American popular culture, and tests and experiments from his studio, are being put on view, simultaneously, at the Museum of Modern Art.

Born in 1929, in Stockholm, Sweden, the infant Oldenburg was shuttled back and forth between Scandinavia and the US until his parents finally settled in Chicago in 1936. After studying literature at Yale he took art courses in Chicago. In 1953 he became a US citizen and moved to New York City three years later. He soon came into contact with Jim Dine and Tom Wesselman and found himself part of a new group of artists, who were challenging the might of abstract expressionism. The pop artists, as they were later christened, produced figurative and representational images, and used found objects, to create art that was a visual commentary on consumerism.

Produced in 1960, Oldenburg’s The Street is an installation made of bits of newspaper, scraps of sacking, cardboard objects and papier-mâché, cut, torn, crumpled then assembled to create a fragmented panorama of the contemporary metropolis, inspired by New York’s Lower East Side of the 1950s.

Shifting focus the following year, Oldenburg began creating The Store, an environment first presented in a group show at New York’s Martha Jackson Gallery, and afterwards in a real rented storefront on East Second Street, which was filled with sculptures – objects made from plaster soaked canvas painted in layers of enamel paint – representing the products on sale in shops throughout the neighborhood.

He continued to develop The Store up until 1964, creating further versions of it and producing a large selection of Store sculptures and drawing, many of which have been brought together for the Museum of Modern Art show. However, during 1962-63 – a time of experimentation for Oldenburg – he became interested in reinterpreting commonplace objects like light switches, hamburgers, lipsticks and typewriters. He transformed hard things to soft (and vice versa), radically changed scale, and played around with erotic analogies to body parts.

Following on from this, Oldenburg started his fantastic monument projects in 1965. Coinciding with MoMA’s exhibition, Christie’s Private Sales is exhibiting and offering Typewriter Eraser – the once-ubiquitous US office accessory wittily transformed into a large monumental sculpture – executed in 1976 in painted aluminum, stainless steel, ferroconcrete and bronze. In 2009 the same item was sold at Christie’s New York for the world auction record price of £1,460,000/$2,210,500.

Claes Oldenburg sculptures from top
7-Up, 1961
Enamel on plaster-soaked cloth on wire.
140.7 x 99.7 x 14cm (55 3/8 x 39 1/4 x 5 1/2ins)
Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution
Joseph H. Hirshhorn Purchase & Bequest Funds, 1994
©Claes Oldenburg, 1961
Photo Lee Stalsworth

Floor Cone, 1962
Photographed in front of Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles, 1963
Oldenburg van Bruggen Studio
©Claes Oldenburg

Floor Burger, 1962
Canvas filled with foam rubber and cardboard boxes,
painted with acrylic paint
132.1 x 213.4 x 213.4 cm (52 x 84 x 84ins)
Collection Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto. Purchase, 1967
©Claes Oldenburg, 1962
Photo Sean Weaver

Pastry Case, I, 1961-62
Painted plaster sculptures on ceramic plates, metal platter and
cups in glass and metal case
52.7 x 76.5 x 37.3 cm (20 3/4 x 30 1/8 x 14 3/4ins)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection
©Claes Oldenburg, 1961-62
Photo MoMA Imaging Services

Typewriter Eraser, 1976
Painted aluminum, stainless steel, ferroconcrete and bronze
227.3 x 203.2 x 177.8 cm (89 1/2 x 80 x 70 ins)
Number three from an edition of three
Photo Christie’s Image 2013

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Sculpture | Alexander Calder: The Swedish Collection

Friday, February 8th, 2013

Contemporary Art Evening Auction
Sotheby’s
London, UK
Sale: 12th February, 2013
Exhibition: 9th-12th February, 2013

Red Skeleton, 1945
Painted metal and wire standing mobile
Estimate £150,000 – 200,000

Untitled, 1954
Painted metal and wire standing mobile
Estimate £150,000 – 200,000

Red Yellow and White, 1955
Painted metal and wire standing mobile
Estimate £150,000 – 200,000

The Red Base, 1969
Painted metal and wire standing mobile
Estimate £150,000 – 200,000


A large collection of modern and contemporary art assembled by an unnamed Swedish individual that includes works by Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Marc Chagall, Max Ernst, Natalia Goncharova and Tom Wesselman will be sold at Sotheby’s over the coming months.

Four delightful Alexander Calder pieces from the Swede’s collection are the opening lots in Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction, and are amongst a phenomenal list of prized items from a wide variety of other sources, alongside which – as with all items exhibited in the viewing galleries – they can be viewed, free of charge.

Calder (1898 – 1976) was immensely popular in Sweden during the 1960s and 70s, when this collection was being assembled, and interestingly – an indication of the country’s particularly receptive attitude to modernism during the post-war period – the first donation to the Moderna Museet, which opened in Stockholm in 1958, had been a Calder.

These four items, all of them miniatures – the largest 40.3 x 30.5 x 10.5cm/15 7/8 x 12 x 4 1/8 inches – have a red theme, and were produced at intervals between 1945 and 1969. Also in this sale is another and unrelated Alexander Calder piece, produced around 1927, and typical of his earlier work, a wire figure on a wooden base, representing John D Rockerfeller – a clever homage to one of the USA’s most recognisable businessmen, the great philanthropist is gently caricatured in a golfing pose. Following a visit to Mondrian’s studio in 1930, Calder made his first wholly abstract compositions and invented the moving kinetic sculptures, dubbed mobiles by Marcel Duchamp, in 1931. By 1943, following a major retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Calder had begun seeking a way of creating more complex sculptural forms. Red Skeleton, produced in 1945, and the earliest of the sale items, dates from this period of experimentation and exhibits Calder’s new technique of piercing alternating planes. The use of wire and coloured organic forms in this and the other three works, imbues them with irrepressible energy and demonstrates the sculptor’s vituoso technical prowess. Calder was an artist with an extraordinary zest for life: his bright, joyful colours were an invitation to everyone to enjoy his work as much as he enjoyed making it.

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The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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