Installation view of the exhibition, "Claes Oldenburg." September 23, 1969–November 23, 1969. Photographic Archive. The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. IN902a.1. Photograph by James Mathews.

Claes Oldenburg

MoMA September 23–November 23, 1969
  • The Museum of Modern Art

Claes Oldenburg was the subject of MoMA’s first major Pop art show. The exhibition was also the first comprehensive treatment of the artist’s work, including more than 200 of his drawings and sculptures and featuring such iconic installations as The Street (1959–60) and The Store (1961). In the exhibition catalogue, critic Barbara Rose described the “hall of mirrors” effect of Oldenburg’s work and the questions it raises: “What is both hard and soft? What changes, melts, liquefies, and yet is solid?” The catalogue itself was an Oldenburgian object: it was bound in a foam-filled vinyl cover, with little sketches by the artist of toothpaste tubes, bananas, and screws decorating the bright-pink end paper, epitomizing Oldenburg’s guiding notion, “Nothing is irrelevant, everything can be used.”

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