Past exhibition

With his humorous and profound depictions of everyday objects, Claes Oldenburg is one of the most important and popular artists since the late 1950s. Not only has he been a major figure in performance art, installation art and pop art, but he has also, through his partnership with Coosje van Bruggen, had a profound influence on public art with their monumental large-scale projects. One central point of reference in Oldenburg’s oeuvre is the industrially produced object—the object as commodity, which in continuous metamorphoses of media and form becomes a conveyer of culture and a symbol of the imagination, desires, and obsessions of the capitalist world.

The exhibition is the largest show realized of Oldenburg’s path-breaking and emblematic early work from the 1960s. Numerous icons of contemporary art will be seen in the exhibition, beginning with the installation The Street (1960) and its graffiti-inspired depictions of modern life in the big city, continuing to the famous consumer articles of The Store (1961-62), to the spectacular everyday objects of the "modern home". The exhibition is also dedicated to Oldenburg’s first designs depicting enormous monuments of consumer objects intended for public spaces and concludes with the Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien’s Mouse Museum, a walk-in, miniature museum in the form of a geometric mouse, for which Oldenburg has collected 385 objects since the late 1950s.

The exhibition is co-organized by Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Vienna (MUMOK) and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Curated by: Achim Hodchdörfer, Curator of the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (mumok)

Claes Oldenburg
Pastry Case I, 1961–62
Painted plaster sculptures on ceramic plates, metal platter and cups in glass-and-metal case
52.7 x 76.5 x 37.3 cm
Courtesy MoMA, New York/The Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection


claes oldenburg

1929 Born in Stockholm to Sigrid Elisabeth Lindforss and Gösta Oldenburg, a diplomat attaché to the Swedish Consulate in New York.

1933 The Oldenburgs move to Oslo and remain there until 1936.

1936–45 They settle in Chicago, where Gösta served first as consul and later as consul general until his retirement in 1959.

More about the artist

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Claes Oldenburg

Claes Oldenburg was among the first artists in the New York scenario to develop performances in the late 50’s and early 60’s; those performances took part sometimes in art galleries in collaboration with some artist friends, and others, unexpectedly, in public spaces like a road at night.
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