I had posted pictures the other day that we took in Philadelphia and among them was the huge clothespin that I had no idea what it was supposed to be.
I had hoped that Ron could tell me and he didn’t know either and then Jimmy had said maybe Ron could find out. Well, my industrious #1 daughter researched it and found out so I am just going to repost the picture and the comment she left with the link to the artists’ site so you can enjoy the rest of their sculptures too.
Now that I know “the rest of the story” as Paul Harvey would have said, I am even more intrigued. I guess now we’ll have to add that to our list of things to do when we go to cities where there are sculptures just like we have to do the Triple D restaurant tours! Without further ado, here is my daughter’s comment and the link to the website.
Common items including soup cans, cardboard boxes, comic strips and newspapers were honored as worthy subjects by Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg who wanted to call attention to mundane objects in our everyday life that were “seen but not looked at”.
As part of this group, Claes Oldenburg tried to stun viewers into a new visual awareness with unfamiliar versions of familiar objects. He never just presents his objects; he always reinterprets them.n Strongly influenced by the writings of Sigmund Freud, Oldenburg underwent an intense period of self-analysis which helped him to shape his approach to his art. In 1965 Oldenburg began a series of drawings of proposed “colossal monuments” for New York. Each drawing represented a common object recreated in an enormous size located in a public setting. Other monuments were designed for sites in London and Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. He is best known for his large-scale sculptures which he focused on after 1976.
His first permanent monument in America, “Clothespin”, made of Cor-ten and stainless steel, was installed in 1976 at Centre Square Plaza, 15th and Market Streets in Philadelphia. The structure is composed of two enormous shapes rising 45 feet tall which are held together by a tension spring. It has been suggested that the shape of the spring is a stylized “76”, but the structure of the clothespin obscures the “7” from view at any angle. Some also interpret the upright posture as an ironic mimic of the tower of City Hall which rises behind it, but any resemblance is superficial at best. Nevertheless, it is an imposing authoritative piece of public art designed to challenge the viewer by presenting a familiar object out of context, redesigned in an unexpected material and position. It is typical of Oldenburg in its union of fantasy and technology and its inventive form. By making the clothespin large when it should be small, a paradox is established which confuses our usual and expected associations. Oldenburg forces us, as viewers, to reassess our daily lives, gain insight into our values and to find humor all around us. His message is that art does not always have to deal with profound messages or expressions; sometimes it is just for fun.
The web address for the site is: http://oldenburgvanbruggen.com/largescaleprojects/lsp.htm