Oldenburg Constructions

Oldenburg began to draw out his ideas of massive, area-changing constructions with everyday objects in the mid sixties. He called them “constructions” instead of sculptures so that he and the viewer could both maintain their sense of freedom when looking at them and transferring the idea of a drawing into three dimensions.[1] When arguing about art with Kaprow, Oldenburg stated that he believed that art should be differentiated from its surroundings so that it might “sweep [the viewer] in.”[2] He definitely accomplished this feat with his larger-than-life pop constructions of simple, manufactured, and brightly colored products in vast spaces. He had the public question the importance of the everyday manufactured objects they use in a much different way than The Store, but just as powerfully. Oldenburg also raises the questions of reality by the grandiose size of these objects, which gives the viewer a sense of the scale in human dimensions. In his work he begins to pair certain objects with others, or objects in space, but he pairs them up by form, not meaning.[3] By being paired this way, the objects make the piece all the more subjective and the viewer may interpret it however they feel. He demonstrates this in his lithograph print, Alphabet in the Form of a Good Humor Bar.


[1] Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Three Conversations in 1985: Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol, Robert Morris, (MIT Press: 1994) http://www.jstor.org/stable/779052

[2] Eva Ehninger, What’s Happening? Allan Kaprow and Claes Oldenburg Argue about Art and Life, (University of Chicago Press: 2014) http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/675802

[3] Hal Foster et al. Art Since 1900: 1945 to the Present Volume II, (New York: Thames & Hudson inc, 2004), 492- 493

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