Date of Degree
Milton W. Brown
History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology
A catalogue raisonne presents the complete work of an artist so that we can better understand that artist and the period in which he or she worked. This dissertation presents all the sculptural works made by Claes Oldenburg between 1960 and 1968. I begin with the works of 1960 and continue through 1968. Although no chronological time period can be demonstrated as absolute, this one begins with an exhibition in which Oldenburg became noticed to a wide audience and ends when Oldenburg's ideas about sculpture became involved with public statements made through public sculpture rather than the studio/home/gallery themes that compelled him through the 1960's. Through the 1960's, Oldenburg's used primarily plaster, cardboard and beginning in 1962, fabrics such as vinyl and canvas in the making of the various objects. His use of soft materials to depict what are otherwise "hard" objects was compelling and inventive. In 1968, Oldenburg all but abandoned soft materials for steel and aluminum. He went from the artisan with his sewing workshop to the participant in the industrial factory.
"The Store" of 1961 remains to this day a major art event and the contents have become the core of what we call Oldenburg's early work. However, he has continued to expand upon ideas and themes in his sculpture that he established in those early years and throughout the 1960's.
Most of the information gathered for this catalogue raisonne came from research in Oldenburg's vast files and his library of books and catalogues. Exhibition catalogues, monographs and other books about the period were explored both for ideas and a better understanding of the work in context.
In compiling the catalogue, I was as objective and obsessive as possible. Oldenburg uses the same title for an object that was made in different sizes and in different materials. The usefulness of this catalogue depends on its reliability, and I am convinced that after many years of research, I have sorted out some of the problems of title, location and history of individual objects.
Ginsburg, Susan, "Claes Oldenburg: Sculpture, 1960-1968. A Catalogue Raisonne. (Volumes I and II)" (1991). CUNY Academic Works.