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Claes Oldenburg

A Pop Art sculptor and printer, Claes Oldenburg depicts seemingly mundane objects like perfume bottles, matchsticks, and lightbulbs and renders iconic symbols of American culture with anthropomorphic and oftentimes humorous characteristics. Well-known for his large scale installations and sculpture work, his paper pieces often act as studies for real life and imagined public art proposals.

Born in Sweden in 1929, Claes Oldenburg was raised in Chicago and studied literature and art history at Yale University and the Art Institute of Chicago. After moving to New York in the late 1950s, he created some of the first performance artworks before gaining recognition as one of the earliest Pop artists. In the 1980s and 90s Oldenburg collaborated with his wife, Coosje van Bruggen, on large-scale projects such as the monumental Spoonbridge and Cherry at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Cupid’s Span along the Embarcadero in San Francisco; and many other iconic sculptures in the United States and abroad. His most recent survey exhibition traveled to The Museum of Modern Art, NY in 2013, after retrospectives at the Whitney Museum in 2009 and the Guggenheim and the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC in 1995. He currently lives and works in New York.