Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen: Sculpture by the Way

Claes Oldenburg, Author, Coosje Van Bruggen, Author, Castello Di Rivoli, Author . Skira $85 (367p) ISBN 978-88-7624-870-2

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)

Reviewed on: 04/09/2007
Release date: 03/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 38 pages - 978-1-930743-16-8
Hardcover - 120 pages - 978-0-9608210-9-9
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