Claes Oldenburg’s absorption with the commonplace was first manifested in his personal collection of toys, plastic food, and knickknacks. These objects served as prototypes for the pieces the artist included in his early Happenings and installations. The burlesque Freighter and Sailboat—one of the first soft sculptures—originated as a playfully sagging prop in his 1962 series of ten performances Ray Gun Theater.
Such sculptural articles played a more central role in Oldenburg’s fabricated environment The Store (1961–62), in one version of which he filled a Manhattan storefront with colorfully painted plaster simulations of ordinary items—including articles of clothing and sundry food products—which he sold as merchandise. Because of its conflation of creativity with commerce, The Store is often cited as a quintessential moment in the emergence of Pop art.
Learn more about Claes Oldenburg HERE
“Soft Pay-Telephone” – 1963