According to Oldenburg, this relief recalls his “vision of a pair of red teenage tights seen in the wind at the corner of Avenue A and 14th Street.” The work refers to this display of merchandise, but its jagged edges and the single number 9 also lend it the appearance of a torn advertisement. Oldenburg often tore images of commercial goods from magazines and newspapers as source material for his sculptures, which he described in 1961 as “rips out of reality,” fusing the printed advertisement with three-dimensional reality. Looking back, in 1970 the artist explained, “Vision at that time, for me, was assumed flatter, and what was seen, taken as a plane surface, like a film, mirror, or newspaper. Thus an advertisement or part of one, ripped from a newspaper, was taken to correspond to a glance at the plane of vision.”
Gallery label from Claes Oldenburg: The Street and The Store, April 14–August 5, 2013.