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Definition: Oldenburg, Claes from Philip's Encyclopedia

US sculptor, a leading member of the pop art movement. He is famous for his gigantic sculptures based on everyday objects, such as Lipstick (1969).

Summary Article: Oldenburg, Claes Thure
From Chambers Biographical Dictionary


♦ US sculptor

Born in Stockholm, he emigrated to the USA in 1936, becoming a US citizen in 1953. He studied at Yale and the Art Institute of Chicago before moving to New York City (1956), where he became part of the milieu from which "happenings" and Pop Art developed. In 1962 he began to make giant versions of foodstuffs such as hamburgers. The following year he introduced soft sculptures of normally hard objects like light switches, made of vinyl or canvas stuffed with kapok. His projects for colossal monuments in public places (eg giant lipsticks in Piccadilly Circus, London) have occasionally been realized, as in the Giant Clothespin (1975) in Philadelphia. Since 1976 he has collaborated with his wife, the writer Coosje van Bruggen, to stage events such as The Course of the Knife (1985, Venice) and to produce giant installations in 26 cities in Europe and the USA, for example Match Cover (1992, Barcelona), Dropped Cone (2001), a 40-ft-high inverted ice-cream cone on a shopping centre in Cologne, and Big Sweep (2006, Denver Art Museum), a giant dustpan and broom.

© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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