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MoMA

CLAES OLDENBURG: CONSERVATION OF FLOOR CAKE

October 31, 2009  |  Artists, Behind the Scenes, Conservation
Claes Oldenburg: Conservation of Floor Cake

This is the first post by the Conservation Department at MoMA. We plan to give you a behind-the-scenes look at one of our current projects. In this project, Sculpture and Painting Conservation collaborate on an investigation into one of MoMA’s iconic Pop sculptures.

Claes Oldenburg - Floor Cake (Giant Piece of Cake) 1962

Claes Oldenburg. Floor Cake. 1962

Claes Oldenburg’s Floor Cake (1962) entered into the Painting and Sculpture Department at MoMA in 1975. Measuring five by nine feet, this popular piece of painted cake has been heavily exhibited in the Museum and across the United States, and has made three transatlantic voyages. The forty-seven-year old sculpture is now in the Conservation Department lab for study and treatment.

History of Floor Cake

In 1961 Claes Oldenburg opened a shop, The Store, in his workshop in New York’s Lower East Side, from which he sold plaster re-creations of foodstuffs and merchandise.

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In a subsequent incarnation of The Store at the Green Gallery in New York in 1962, Oldenburg developed an art of parody and humor by grossly enlarging the scale of familiar objects, and created such works as MoMA’s Floor Cake and Floor Burger, which is in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Installation view of the exhibition Claes Oldenburg at MoMA (September 23–November 23, 1969). Photo: James Mathews; courtesy of MoMA

Installation view of the exhibition Claes Oldenburg at MoMA (September 23–November 23, 1969). Photo: James Mathews; courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art Archives

Operated from 1960 to 1965, the Green Gallery was located at 15 West Fifty-seventh Street New York City. In addition to Oldenburg, it displayed the work of such artists as Tom Wesselmann, Dan Flavin, James Rosenquist, Donald Judd, and Robert Morris.

Oldenburg working on his giant soft sculptures on the floor of the Green Gallery. (MoMA P & S curatorial files)

Oldenburg working on his giant soft sculptures on the floor of the Green Gallery. Image courtesy of MoMA

Floor Cake can be seen in the background, while Floor Cone (1962), also in MoMA’s collection, is in the foreground.

In our second post next Monday, we will talk about the materials and methods Oldenburg used to make Floor Cake, including a peek inside the layers…

By Margo Delidow, Sculpture Conservation Research Fellow, and Cynthia Albertson, Painting Conservation Kress Fellow

Comments

That is really something. Thanks for sharing with us all. Keep up the good work Cynthia.

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