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