Top 62 Quotes & Sayings by Claes Oldenburg

Explore popular quotes and sayings by a Swedish sculptor Claes Oldenburg.
Claes Oldenburg

Claes Oldenburg was a Swedish-born American sculptor, best known for his public art installations typically featuring large replicas of everyday objects. Another theme in his work is soft sculpture versions of everyday objects. Many of his works were made in collaboration with his wife, Coosje van Bruggen, who died in 2009; they had been married for 32 years. Oldenburg lived and worked in New York City.

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Abstract Abstract Art Abstraction Accept Action Active Activity Actual Advertising Advertising Agency Hide All Afraid Agency Air Force All Things Ambition America Andy Angeles Angle Apartment Approach Architecture Art Class Art World Artist Asked Atlantic Atmosphere Avoid Awakened Back Basic Battery Believed Birds Blunt Books Born Boundaries Building Buildings Built Cake Cakes Calling Campbell Cans Capable Care Careful Cedar Change Changed Character Chicago Child Chop Chops Church Cigarette City Class Clay Cleaner Coarse Collected College Colored Colossal Commerce Commercialism Communication Company Compare Compete Complete Compromising Concrete Cones Cooper Copying Country Cream Creating Creating Art Critique Cycle Death Decadence Decomposition Deeper Deeper Level Detail Dimensions Disappeared Disappears Dishwasher Documentation Doubtful Draw Drawing Drawings Drew Drop Dropped Drug Drug Addict Dying Earlier Earn East East Side Easy Easy To Get Effects Elegance Energetic Enrolled Erotic Escape Evening Existence Expand Experiences Express Fall Fantasy Father Favor Feeling Figure Figure Painting Figures Finally Find Flag Food For The People Force Form Found Free Friends Functions Gave Geometric Give Good Grand Great Grows Guns Half Happened Happy Heavy Helps High High School Highly Honest Horns Horrible Houses I Care I Realized Ice Cream Ice Cream Cones Idea Ideas Illustrator Image Images Imaginary Immigrant Important Imposed Impossibilities Impression Impulse Including Inconsistent Insects Institute Interested Interesting Intimate Killing Killing Each Other Kind Knew Knowing Ladies Lady Lamb Landscape Large Large Scale Levels Library Life Lines Live Living Long Long Time Los Angeles Lost Lower Lying Made Made It Main Make Making Manhattan Manson Material Meaning Meaningful Mental Metaphysical Michigan Minded Mine Money Monument Monuments Mother Mouse Moved Movies Museum My Ambition My Friends My Struggle Naturally Nature Navy New York Nice Night No Idea Not Honest Not Knowing Oakland Object Objects Obvious Odor Offset Old-Fashioned Oneself Open Original Paint Painted Painting Paintings Paradox Park Part Parties Partly Party People Perfect Performance Personal Personality Phase Phonograph Pick Picked Piece Place Planning Playing Playing Around Pose Possibility Potential Practical Practiced Pregnant Preoccupied Presence Present Present Time Pretty Private Process Proposed Public Read Real Realized Reason Records Reduce Remain Remember Remind Return Returning Rhetorical Rule Rules Salvation Scale Scene School Sculpt Search Selling Sense Senses Seven Years Sexual Shape Shapes Shoes Show Showing Side Simple Simply Single Single-Minded Situation Situations Slide Small Small Things Sold Sort Sounds Soup South Spent Spray Stages Started Startling Stayed Stimulating Strange Street Streets Struggle Studies Studio Study Stuff Stupid Subject Subjects Suddenly Suggest Summer Surface Surrounded Sweden Sweet Symbolic Takes Tangible Technique Tells Tendency Terrible Thing Things Thought Thrown Time Time Of Day Times Touching Tour Tradition Transferred Treat True Turn Twists Types Underground Underwear Union Unlike Vacuum Vagueness Very Happy Vessel Wanted Warhol Warned Week Words Work Worked Working World Worse Writer Writing Year Years York Less More Hide All See All
Chicago has a strange metaphysical elegance of death about it.
My single-minded aim is to give existence to fantasy.
I think of a monument as being symbolic and for the people and therefore rhetorical, not honest, not personal. — © Claes Oldenburg
I think of a monument as being symbolic and for the people and therefore rhetorical, not honest, not personal.
'Clothespin' was the first city monument on a large scale that could compete with the architecture around it.
A life cycle can be imposed on an object. An object can be very energetic and active, and then it has a dying phase and a phase of decomposition.
I like to treat paint as material - to daub it, drop it, let it slide. There was Action Painting, but I also compare it to paint effects found on the streets. This approach is superimposed on a sculptural surface that is also 'painterly.'
My struggle has been to return painting to the tangible object, which is like returning the personality to touching and feeling the world around it, to offset the tendency to vagueness and abstraction. To remind people of practical activity, to suggest the sense and not to escape from the senses.
I am for the art of underwear and the art of taxicabs. I am for the art of ice cream cones dropped on concrete.
If you really want to be an artist, you search yourself, and you find a lot of it comes from earlier times. I have pretty much built the work around my experiences. When I've moved from one place to another, the work has changed.
I'm in favor of an art that does something other than just sit on its ass in a museum.
You can take an object and simply put anything you want in that object, and I accessed that partly through Freudian ideas.
There's always been a potential erotic possibility with objects.
I was always interested in drawing. As a child, I started my own country, which was called Neubern. It was located in the South Atlantic. I did the documentation of Neubern in great detail. I drew everything that was there, all the houses and all the cars and all the people. We even had a navy and an air force. I spent a lot of time drawing.
I knew I had to take my ambition more seriously, so I enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago. Then, in the fall, I went on a tour of my own. I didn't go to New York because that was too well known for its art scene.
I think the Freudian impulse is in everything, so I just accept it. I don't always believe what Freud is saying but it sounds like fun. — © Claes Oldenburg
I think the Freudian impulse is in everything, so I just accept it. I don't always believe what Freud is saying but it sounds like fun.
I am preoccupied with the possibility of creating art which functions in a public situation without compromising its private character of being antiheroic, antimonumental, antiabstract, and antigeneral. The paradox is intensified by the use on a grand scale of small-scale subjects known from intimate situations--an approach which tends in turn to reduce the scale of the real landscape to imaginary dimensions.
All the fun is locking horns with impossibilities.
They asked me to do a show, and I was planning on showing my figure paintings. But my friends told me I shouldn't - the paintings were good but a little old-fashioned. They said, "Why don't you show the other stuff?" I had also been making rather strange objects, more in the Freudian tradition.
I got a little studio in Chicago and practiced. I realized I had to earn some money. So I went to work for an advertising agency where my job was mostly drawing insects for a company that sold an insecticide spray.
The right angle is one of the world's basic shapes.
It was easy to get a job at the Cedar Bar because people came and went, but I didn't like the atmosphere. Instead, I got a job at Cooper Union Library. I stayed at Cooper Union for seven years; it was my salvation. While I worked there, I also read books of every kind.
My rule was not to paint things as they were. I wasn't copying; I was remaking them as my own.
I am for an art of things lost or thrown away. . . I am for an art that one smokes like a cigarette. . . I am for an art that flutters like a flag.
The main reason for the colossal objects is the obvious one, to expand and intensify the presence of the vessel - the object.
Because my work is naturally non-meaningful, the meaning found in it will remain doubtful and inconsistent - which is the way it should be. All that I care about is that, like any startling piece of nature, it should be capable of stimulating meaning.
The thing about the ray gun is, you pick up anything you see on the street that's the shape of a gun.
I got a job as a dishwasher in Oakland, and I would draw all day. It was nice because the lady who ran the boardinghouse where I worked let me live there for nothing if I gave her some drawings every week - mostly park drawings of birds and such.
Judson Church was a very important place because they believed in art. They also took care of drug addicts. Without the Judson, nothing could have happened.
Everything I do is completely original-I made it up when I was a kid.
Ox-Bow was a very free place, very open. You could do whatever you wanted to do.
I knew I wasn't that good a writer, and all I could remember was that I could draw. I'm better at drawing than I am at writing.
I just started to do my own thing for about a year and a half, and I worked in the evening selling phonograph records. Then I said to myself, "I'm afraid I have to go to New York after all."
The sexual is part of everything, and it's highly formalized. I hadn't done figure for a long time. And I thought to myself, "Why not the erotic figure?"
Painting, especially much better than words, allows oneself to express the various stages of thought, including the deeper levels, the underground stages of the mental process.
I am for an art that grows up not knowing it is art at all.
I went back to the Art Institute, then spent the summer at the Ox-Bow School in Saugatuck, Michigan. That's what really awakened me. I made a lot of oil paintings and my first performance.
I was very happy to be living in New York at that time, more than in the present time. Now it's all commerce.
Andy [Warhol] was on the scene, but he wasn't an artist at first; he was more an illustrator. He was always surrounded by about ten people who worshipped him. He'd go to a party and they would all come along. But he was drawing shoes and that sort of thing.
I had, over the years, collected things, small things, as people do, and I had put them all together and showed them in what became a building in the form of the Geometric Mouse.
I'm always careful to say that I changed everything I found. — © Claes Oldenburg
I'm always careful to say that I changed everything I found.
I am for an art that tells you the time of day, or where such and such a street is. I am for an art that helps old ladies across the street.
When you're working with an object, you can put in almost anything you want, you can make it abstract.
Art is a technique of communication. The image is the most complete technique of all communication.
I had no idea what art was. There was one art class in high school, but it didn't make a big impression on me. Then I went to college and thought I'd become a writer.
I am for an art that takes its form from the lines of life itself, that twists and extends and accumulates and spits and drips, and is heavy and coarse and blunt and sweet and stupid as life itself.
I always knew America was all about guns. You go to the movies as a kid, everybody's got a gun.
The end of the '60s was a terrible time. I was in Los Angeles then, and I remember the night someone ran into the studio and told us about the Manson murders. Then suddenly something happened, the '60s disappeared. The '70s were completely different.
Of course, the '60s was a study in decadence. Everything just got worse and worse, and at the end of the '60s, everything was so horrible that people were killing each other.
I started to draw buildings. I called them Proposed Colossal Monuments - they weren't for real, not for actual building. It was more a critique of architecture.
If I didn't think what I was doing had something to do with enlarging the boundaries of art, I wouldn't go on doing it. — © Claes Oldenburg
If I didn't think what I was doing had something to do with enlarging the boundaries of art, I wouldn't go on doing it.
My work doesn't have the same rules as, say, Andy [Warhol]'s work. But it's gathered together for the simple reason that we all worked with the images and objects around us.
Actually, New York is great for playing around. I made a lot of studies for New York-a big vacuum cleaner lying on the Battery in Manhattan.
For a thorough use of ice cream cones, buy two; eat one and drop the other.
I don't do abstract art because I don't find it as interesting as I do subjects and depictions.
The art world was very small and the people got together at parties. There was less commercialism.
Food is like clay; you can sculpt with it. Also it has an odor, and you can eat it. I don't eat a lot of cake, but I do make cakes! And unlike the Campbell's Soup Cans, my food is a humanized form and scale.
Mine was not pop art. I maybe started with a subject, but I changed the subject.
Duchamp is known for calling a thing art, rather than making it. A lot of that is picked up in pop art, too.
In 1958 I finally found a large enough apartment on the Lower East Side, where I reverted to figure painting. I drew and painted quite a lot of figures and nudes. People would come and pose for me.
I like food because you can change it. I mean, there is no such thing as a perfect lamb chop; you can make all types of lamb chops. And that's true of everything. And people eat it and it changes and disappears.
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