Claes Oldenburg’s Soft Machines

Barbara Rose at Artforum:

CLAES OLDENBURG IS THE SINGLE Pop artist to have added significantly to the history of form. In order to perceive this, however, one must look beyond the Rabelaisian absurdity of his grotesque imagery to the inventiveness of his shapes, techniques, and materials. These are sufficiently original to identify Oldenburg, not, as he has erroneously been seen, as a chef d’ecole of Pop art, but as one of the most vital innovators in the field of contemporary sculpture, whose vision has affected the work of many other young artists of his generation.

Every major artist dreams of reconstructing the world in his own image, but Oldenburg has actually succeeded in translating the external environment into a series of shapes and images that physically resemble the large, mesomorphic frame of Claes Oldenburg. To accomplish this solipsistic goal, he had to invent a vocabulary of forms that would be as vulnerable, as irregular, as eccentric, unique and expressive as the human body itself.

more here.