Claes Oldenburg. Pastry Case, I. 1961-62

Claes Oldenburg

Pastry Case, I


On view
Burlap and muslin soaked in plaster, painted with enamel, metal bowls, and ceramic plates in glass-and-metal case
20 3/4 x 30 1/8 x 14 3/4" (52.7 x 76.5 x 37.3 cm)
The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection
Object number
© 2015 Claes Oldenburg
Painting and Sculpture
This work is on view on Floor 2, in the Special Exhibitions Gallery, with 48 other works online.
Claes Oldenburg has 78 works online.
There are 1,416 sculptures online.

“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.”

Gallery label from Claes Oldenburg: The Street and The Store, April 14–August 5, 2013

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