Claes Oldenburg: The Street and The Store
April 14–August 5, 2013
“I work with very simple things that I come across while walking to work,” Oldenburg explained in 1964, “such as a certain kind of pastry . . . or certain kinds of displays or presentations and advertisements that I naturally come across as part of the urban landscape.” Pastry Case, I replicates just this sort of everyday sighting. The desserts are presented for the viewer’s delectation on real dishes, heightening the tension between the tempting evocation of edible goods and their obvious artifice. In a 1969 interview, Oldenburg described this tension as a way of “frustrating expectations”: “The food, of course, can’t really be eaten, so that it’s an imaginary activity which emphasizes the fact that it is, after all, not realthat it’s art, whatever that strange thing is of doing something only for itself rather than for function.”
Claes Oldenburg: The Street and The Store, April 14–August 5, 2013
Curator, Ann Temkin: Oldenburg exported still life as a subject from painting to sculpture, and made sculpture a celebration of food. Pastry Case is filled with the kind of pastries you would see in the deli or in a diner. As you can see, it's housed in an actual pastry case that would still be available to buy at a restaurant supply store on the Bowery.
Oldenburg didn't just buy the case for all these pastries, but he bought the metal dishes and ceramic plates that were very typical of a cheap diner, in which to put his pieces of pie or his scoops of ice cream.
Artist, Claes Oldenburg: I’m interested in objects that revolve around food and clothing. And I think that has to do with my interest in myself and in other human beings. I think food is a very important thing in life. And clothes are also a very important thing in life. And, that's what people are kind of obsessed with. And you see it everywhere. And the whole basis of my work is about my relation to my surroundings. And clothing and food it's very close to me or to anyone.