The Giant Art of Claes Oldenburg

Adam Gopnik at The New Yorker:

“I am for Kool-art, 7-Up art, Pepsi-art, Sunshine art, 39 cents art, 15 cents art. . . . I am for an art of things lost or thrown away on the way home from school.” When the artist Claes Oldenburg, who authored these words in 1961, died this week at ninety-three, one had a sense that it had been a long while since his vision, for good or ill, had engaged the center ring of the art world’s attention. If he had not exactly disappeared from view, he had faded a little. Examples of his outsized, monumental tributes to the sheer thingness of ordinary things, celebrated in the Whitman-esque list above, could be found in many American cities—a giant clothespin in Philadelphia, shuttlecocks in Kansas City—but, though his sculptures are often beloved, they exist by now more as local color than as visionary art. They have become, in an irony that Oldenburg would have appreciated, numbered among the vernacular eccentricities that have always dotted the American landscape: the giant elephant in Margate, the duck on Long Island, or the giant pickle that once stood at Fifth Avenue and Broadway.

more here.