Monday, May 11, 2009

Jill Krementz Photo Journal - Oldenburg & van Bruggen

Claes Oldenburg, May 11, 1968, in his 14th Street loft, New York City. Photographs by Jill Krementz.
Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen
At the Whitney Museum of American Art

May 7th-September 6th, 2009

In 1930, when Claes Oldenburg was living in Stockholm, his mother gave him a small scrapbook filled with pictures, cut from magazines, of ordinary American products — Indeed, it is the drawings and soft sculptures of “ordinary objects” which are synonymous with the work of this witty artist — a ketchup bottle, a clothespin, cigarette butts, or a BLT sandwich.

I first photographed Oldenburg in 1968 and its been a great pleasure to follow his work over the years. In 1977 he married the art historian and curator, Coosje van Bruggen, with whom he collaborated on much of his art for over 30 years. Coosje van Bruggen died of breast cancer only a few months ago.

The current exhibition consists of five galleries: one devoted to The Happenings films, another to his legendary installation called “The Store, and in still another, “Ice Bag-Scale C.” But most touching of all is “The Music Room,” displaying a group of musical instruments made by Mr. Oldenburg and Ms. Van Bruggen. It was in this gallery that Mr. Oldenburg held a press conference and said “I wish Coosje could be here.” We all wish she could have been there.
Resonances, after J.V., 2000. Adam Weinberg, Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art, and Claes Oldenburg.
Claes Oldenburg addresses the guests at the press preview.
The artist with Soft Viola Island, 2001.
Soft Viola, 2002. Leaning Clarinet, 2006.
Soft Viola, 2002. Sliced Stradivarius — Rose, 2003.
French Horn, Unwound, Horn Against Ground, 2001 & Soft French Horn, Unwound, 2002.
Giant Fagends, 1967.
Soft Dormeyer Mixer, 1965. Soft Toilet, 1966.
French Fries and Ketchup, 1963. Aneta Glinkowska, Co-founder and Senior Editor of NY Art Beat, stands next to Giant BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich), 1963.
Two Fagends Together, II, 1968. Study for a Soft Sculpture in the Form of a Giant Lipstick, 1967.
Museum Design Based on a Cigarette Package, 1968.
Ice Bag — Scale C, 1971. Symbolic Self-Portrait, 1971. Offset print.
A selection of prints from the show.
Nude with Electric Plug, 1967. Drainpipe — Dream State, 1967.
"Capric" — Adapted to a Monument for a Park, 1966. Crayon and watercolor on paper.
Dream Pin, 1998. Soft Shuttlecock, Raised, 1994.
In December 1961, Oldenburg opened an exhibition at his New York studio, a space at 107 East Second Street, called The Store. He filled the small storefront with sculptures of everyday consumer items and food stuffs of all sizes -- shoes, chocolates, women's undergarments -- that were for sale in his Lower East Side neighborhood.
Braselette, 1961. The Black Girdle, 1961. Shirt, 1960.
Art Critic Walter Robinson in the Film and Video Gallery.
Clips from newly restored films of Mr. Oldenburg's Happenings.
Claes Oldenburg on the cover of Midwest, the Sunday magazine of The Chicago Sun-Times. Published February 18, 1968. Photograph by Jill Krementz. Entrance to Whitney Museum.
Text and photographs © by Jill Krementz: all rights reserved.