Claes Oldenburg first achieved fame in the 1960s with the expansive whimsy of his enormous cheeseburgers, lipstick canisters and other pop art sculptures. All the more disappointing, then, that this retrospective work with his wife and collaborator, Coosje van Bruggen, has so little hint of the giddy fun that lights up their art. It's true that the book thoroughly and competently documents the dozens of large-scale pieces the pair have produced since 1985, including giant reproductions of a pocket knife, a matchbook and tumbling bowling pins. A short account by the artists of how each piece came to be accompanies color photos of the work, along with watercolor and model studies. Interviews and excerpts from van Bruggen's journal offer insightful glimpses into the artists' preoccupations with the sculptural possibilities and secret inner lives of everyday objects. But published as it is in conjunction with an exhibit at Turin's Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, the book has a bland, institutional respectability that largely eclipses the high-minded goofiness of their art. They helped redefine what a building can be with their binocular-shaped facade for a Frank Gehry building. How baffling that they weren't enlisted to make this book something other than stodgy and thoroughly unsurprising. (May)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen: Sculpture by the Wayby Marcella Beccaria, Coosje Van Bruggen, Castello Di Rivoli
Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen have been working in partnership since 1976. Together they have executed over 40 large-scale, site-specific projects that establish direct contact with a wide audience into various urban settings in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Their collaboration has extended to smaller-scale park and garden sculptures as well as to
Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen have been working in partnership since 1976. Together they have executed over 40 large-scale, site-specific projects that establish direct contact with a wide audience into various urban settings in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Their collaboration has extended to smaller-scale park and garden sculptures as well as to indoor installations. Published in association with the Castello di Rivoli, this major retrospective catalog focuses on the close relationship between the concepts of sculpture and architecture in the work of the artists and is the first to trace the development of their artistic itinerary from the mid-1980s up to the present. Lavishly illustrated the catalog features the works in chronological order, elucidated by text introducing each of the body of works. In the section devoted to large-scale projects, 22 works are examined and illustrated with drawings, models, and photographs. This long-awaited monograph includes an interview with the artists, an anthology of texts, a bio-bibliography, and two never-before-seen works: Popagesy, produced especially for the exhibition, and Three Way Plug, which addresses the artists' own history.
Think big when you think of artist collaborators Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Since 1976, they have brought more than 40 large-scale projects to major urban centers around the world. This retrospective catalog, a colorful celebration of the whimsy of 22 works, was published in association with the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art in Turin. It looks at how the artists' sculptures have collaborated with architecture to extend the reach of a building while challenging and entertaining the passing citizenry. Editors Gianelli and Beccaria (Yang Fudong) are director and curator, respectively, of the Castello di Rivoli; both have written numerous publications on recent art. They write introductions to each body of work and include an interview with the artists, an anthology of texts, and a biobibliography. Pieces seldom seen, including a giant Swiss army knife with oars serving as a quasi-Viking ship, reflect the kind of intellectual leaps Oldenburg and van Bruggen make with ease. The photography is generally outstanding, joyous viewing made more scholarly and historic with detailed background information and drawings. Recommended.
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Meet the Author
Ida Gianelli is Director of the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, and author of numerous publications. Marcella Beccaria is Curator of the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art. Her most recent publications are Yang Fudong (Skira, 2006) and Video Art: The Castello di Rivoli Collection (Skira, 2006).
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