Collection 1950s–1970s

Claes Oldenburg. Store Poster. 1961

Lithograph with watercolor additions, composition: 19 1/8 x 24 3/8" (48.6 x 62 cm); sheet: 20 x 25 15/16" (50 x 66 cm). The Associates Fund. © 2024 Claes Oldenburg

Director, Glenn Lowry: In 1961, Oldenburg rented a storefront at 107 East Second Street, where he both made and sold art.

Artist, Claes Oldenburg: I would sort of raise my eyes from the ground and look sidewise at the stores of the Lower East Side, which at that time, anyway, were quite fascinating the way things were displayed.

Glenn Lowry: Throughout The Store, Oldenburg created a dialogue between his hand-crafted art objects and the fixtures of a real store.

Claes Oldenburg: That was part of the presentation that it should be in a real store. And that also had significance in the comparison with a gallery. Instead of putting the real works into an unreal place, you put the real works into a real place. And you put prices on them the way they would do it in the store. So that if somebody walked in they could buy something for $150 or whatever—the prices were very low.

The people in the neighborhood were pretty terrified. They didn't know what was going on. So they didn't come in. However, certain, people interested in art dropped in, and people bought things. Andy Warhol came and he bought a shirt. And other artists came in and bought things. So it was a good experience.