Harrison and Wood observe that “The history of art is that of a long series of attacks upon social and aesthetic values held to be moribund, although the avant-garde position is frequently nostalgic and absolute.” [1] This could not be truer in the case of the essays under consideration, essays in the style of manifestoes or blank verse.

The essays by Claes Oldenburg and by Ad Rheinhardt; I am for an Art[2], and Art for Art [3] express two responses to pre-existing art movements and ideas, responses which are themselves mutually opposing. These two artists of the Twentieth Century may never have been at odds personally, but their ideas of how to move art forward from the past could not seem more drastically different. It is no wonder that their impacts have been quite distinct from each other.

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What they agree on, and very strongly, is that the old ways of doing, making, thinking about, learning to do, and making a living from, art, need to change radically. They both dislike the way that that the sale and use of art was manipulated by others, rather than by the artist.

They both discard Abstract Expressionism, which was in and of itself a rejection of the whole effort to achieve realism [4], at least in the way that painters and sculptors of the previous 400 years had striven for. However, it appears that Oldenburg and Rheinhardt rejected Abstract Expressionism for different reasons. Certainly, the directions that they pursued, after having tossed the prior millennia of human artistic effort unceremoniously into the ditch, are radically divergent.

Claes Oldenburg calls for art to be everywhere. He calls for everything and anything to be potentially art, and for art to be part of every facet of life, including blowing one’s nose[5]. He was clearly influenced in much of this by the Dadaist movement which began in Europe, perhaps in Zurich, in 1916 [6].

The Dadaists, part of a generation which had seen the senseless death and destruction of World War I touching the entire world that they knew, rejected just about everything that was accepted, whether in art, or in politics, or social justice. They adopted a previously meaningless word [7] to be the aegis for a new definition of art, as well as its creation and use, preferably to uplift and elevate those who were oppressed and disenfranchised [8].

Rheinhardt is far more elitist than Oldenburg; at least that is the way it seems from his essay [9]. (Messrs. Harrison and Wood describe the alternative to Pop Art as seeming like “authoritarian dogma” [10] , but do not associate these terms specifically with Rheinhardt – a tempting description of his essay, however. )

Rheinhardt started out as an enthusiastic proponent of Abstract Expressionism, but became disillusioned with its “biomorphism, emotionalism, and cult of individuality” [11]. Presumably this refers to a residual suggestion or reference to realism that persisted even in the works of a Willhelm de Kooning or a Jackson Pollack.

He may also have objected to the idea that the artist was achieving some sort of emotional catharsis in the process of throwing, dripping or otherwise applying paint to a surface. Finally, it seems that he wanted the artist to recede into complete anonymity, at least in the painting itself. The sort of mythology that grew up around characters such as Picasso or Dali, or even the afore-mentioned Pollack, was apparently anathema to him.

These aversions eventually propelled his art away from any sort of recognizable human, animal, plant or landscape forms. All that was left to his art, by the end of his life, was color (or the absence thereof) and a “Greek cross” of barely hinted squares of varying saturation[12].

Rheinhardt wanted art to be only for art’s sake. He wanted art to be hermetically sealed off from the rest of life, and commerce, and everything else, never used for anything except for itself [13]. Rheinhardt suggested that the only pure art was art that did not try to depict or suggest anything at all. To emphasize this, he writes that art should be “non-objective, non-representational, non-figurative, non-imagist, non-expressionist, non-subjective” [14]. This is a fairly water-tight list.

He took on the entire world that surrounded art, again, very negatively. He wanted art museums to be art museums only; mausoleums of “soundlessness, timelessness, airlessness, lifelessness” [15]. This is a goal which sounds depressing and oppressive to modern ears more attuned to the frenetic engagement of the viewer, especially very young viewers.

He also disapproved of the “art academy” for anything but the “correction of the artist”[16], rather than the education of a knowledgeable public. This constraint, taken together with the museum-as-bell jar concept, sounds as though it would amount to shooting the whole enterprise of art in its paint-spattered, if inspired, foot. It sounds as though Rheinhardt is urging that art be created for no audience but the artist; a rather sterile notion, it would seem.

If, as Rheinhardt directs, museums do not engage, and art academies do not engage, from whence is the future cohort of practitioners and appreciators to come? Rheinhardt certainly does not address this. His relentless negativity leads the reader to question whether he would have cared.

Perhaps he felt that his was the last pre-apocalyptic generation, after which such trivial issues as the survival of art as a way of making a living (whether by patronage or by successful marketing, neither of which option sounds as though they would be attractive to Rheinhardt himself) would become irrelevant. He explicitly discards the notion of art as a “means of making a living”[17], which leads one to wonder how he expected to make a living himself.

He does say that there is always more art to create; “the more an artist works, the more there is to do”[18]. This suggests that he believed that the urge to create art was so powerful, in those who were touched by the muse, that the urge would be sufficient to compensate for the inevitable sacrifices attendant on painting for oneself alone. In sum, his is not a very practical manifesto.

Although Claes Oldenburg is deliberately symbolic and vague in his essay, there is enough which is concrete to allow the reader to follow his ideas backwards to the Dadaists, and forward into his and other artists’ work [19].

Oldenburg’s “happenings” in the 1960s, for example, the creation of a store that sold faux food objects over a period of days, are a more contemporary version of the spontaneous and often shocking free form audience-participation events staged by the Dadaists, such as those described by Conway [20].

His selection, and designation as fit subject matter for art, of aggressively mundane objects such as hamburgers, or pastries, also harkens back to the Dadaist movement. These pieces bring to mind, for example, the toilet, submitted by Marcel DuChamp, as a work of art to the Independent Artists Exhibition in New York, entitled Fountain, and under the pseudonym Richard Mutt[21].

Another means of transmuting the ordinary into art is seen in the super-stimulus[22] of Oldenburg’s giant soft sculptures, such as Floorburger [23](subtitled “Giant Hamburger 1962”), and Floor Cake [24]. These pieces are realistic in all but their gargantuan size. They call into question the whole definition of an art object. The viewer is left wondering whether these could just as easily be advertising props, or toys for a day care center.

In his political activism, Oldenburg was also drawing on Dada influences. The monumental sculpture which his fellow Yale alumni sponsored for the Yale campus, Lipstick Ascending on Caterpillar Tracks 1969 [25], with its treble apparent references to a military tank, as well as the commercial commoditization of female beauty, as well as a lingam-like symbol, was accepted as an anti-war statement.

Its installation apparently caused a suitably Dadaist civil disturbance[26]. Later monumental projects such as Clothespin 1976 in downtown Philadelphia, created with public sponsorship, apparently were part of his urge to sidestep the retail art establishment [27]; what Harrison and Wood term “the art rackets” [28]. This latter motivation seems to be another commonality with the Dadaists, with their ready-made art and do-it-yourself entertainment.

A slightly different direction is represented by the papier mache piece entitled “Empire” (“Papa”) Ray Gun 1959. This childlike construction is outsized and awkward, only distantly suggesting the ray gun of the title.[29] It reminds the viewer of comic book space operas, while the title may be an oblique critique of the cold war obsession with weapons and science in the service of geopolitical aims.

This piece also reflects Oldenburg’s contention in his essay that art “takes its form from the lines of life itself” [30]. The droopy “gun” shows a gloppy resemblance to objects normally seen only in abdominal surgery or autopsy.

Oldenburg’s impulse to boldly use objects and materials not usually thought of in connection with art is echoed in the works of Joseph Cornell. This New York artist collected the detritus of modern life and created assemblages that conveyed definite messages, albeit very idiosyncratic and personal ones [31].

His piece Central Park Carrousel: In Memoriam 1950, is one such evocation of a time, place, event, and feeling which uses found objects[32]. It is intriguing to discover that there was indeed a carousel, previous to any in existence recently, in Central Park which was completely destroyed by fire in 1950 [33].

Further, although there is nothing readily accessible to prove this, it seems reasonable to infer that Cornell either used materials from the defunct and beloved merry-go-round ride, or wants the viewer to believe that they are looking at bits of detritus from the fire site itself.

We can stand and wonder endlessly about the smoked mirror, the wire fencing that might have surrounded the ruins, the bits and bobs (such as what appears to be a strap handle), which could have come from the complex workings of the carousel itself.

However, only the artist could confirm these suppositions. Most of these small objects are whitewashed or painted to create anonymity, and/or uniformity, or to perhaps to recall the white paint which is so universally resorted to in order to conceal deteriorated surfaces. The Cornell used this unifying technique of white paint (or perhaps Gesso), in other pieces, as well. The deft arrangement shows his experience creating layouts for Vogue Magazine [34].

This piece is a lovely valentine to a lost joy, a deeply individual set of mementoes (or facsimile thereof) of an irretrievable landscape. Not one of the elements is what we think of as art supplies, except perhaps the frame (and even these were often hand constructed by the artist or found and re-purposed[35]) and the protective glass in some of these works.

Finally, this work, as well as all the constructions of Cornell, seems to disregard and abjure consumer society as much as is possible, and expresses an obliviousness that gently and subtly shames as it ignores.

Another aspect of Oldenburg’s ideas and work which rippled out into the work of other artists is the use of the blatantly commercial objects to do…what? What does Pastry Case1961-1962 do, exactly? [36]. Perhaps, in its loving realism, it is meant to evoke the still life paintings of the Dutch masters.

Perhaps it is meant to skewer the buying habits of consumer society.[37] Perhaps it was meant to be a metaphor for the human body [38], in all its variety, vulnerability, and perishable nature (note the candy apple with a bite taken out of it – what commercial establishment would allow such an unhygienic bit of contamination among the otherwise pristine or properly cut pastries?).

In any case, this and other consumer items portrayed, in increasingly monumental size, by Oldenburg, force the viewer to consider, at a minimum, what is art, what is a hamburger, and what does the shape of the object remind us of, what is the role of the subject (e.g., hamburger, pastries, cake, wall plug, clothespin) in our lives, and what is the role in our world of the things that the object reminds us of?

This focus on banal, everyday objects, especially mass-produced objects and items, is reflected in the (dare one say it) iconic Pop Art work, Campbell Soup Cans 1962, by Andy Warhol [39]. An entire paper could be written on this strain in mid-Twentieth Century art, and the colorful artist himself.

However, to see the relationship of this work to Oldenburg’s essay[40], it is only necessary to look at the phrases “everyday crap”[41], “comic”[42], “eaten, like a piece of pie”[43], “flipped on and off like a switch”[44], and more. Oldenburg further suggests that art can be “blinking biscuit signs”[45] and “Kool-art”[46], “7UP-art”[47], “Pepsi-art”[48], and “ready-to-eat”[49].

All of these describe, and practically prescribe Warhol’s use of quotidian images, images which are familiar in our environment to the point that they have become unnoticeable. Oldenburg’s essay, however, does not prescribe Warhol’s innovative techniques for transforming these images through his use of paint or silk screening.

These are techniques which lend themselves to mass-production, a notion which is in concert with the egalitarian urges of the Dadaists. Art, in the new art world order, was meant to bring liberation to those whose economic, educational, and social status placed them well outside the usual market for fine art [50].

Warhol’s graphic art techniques also allow for the involvement of a whole staff of helpers. This seems reminiscent of the famed ateliers of Old Master artists such as Rembrandt, but at the same time, reminds one of industrial production arrangements.

Turning to the impact of the other essay, it was noted earlier that Ad Rheinhardt’s manifesto was not only unbendingly negative, but also seems un-conducive to brisk art sales. However, as a way of liberating artists generally from the absolute necessity to be figurative, it is only necessary to stroll through MOMA or any other institution featuring works of the 50s onwards, to see that his words have clearly had an impact.

Perhaps they were effective themselves (somewhat doubtful, given the highly specialized journal in which his essay was published), or else he articulated unambiguously some powerful ideas which were in the air in the 50s and 60s.

His own works are the most unambiguous ambassadors for his ideas; for example Number 107 1950 [51], a painted collage of shades of white. This vertically oriented canvas of varying shades and thicknesses of white can be appreciated as serene and un-intrusive. The pattern of painted rectangles clearly follows Rheinhardt’s’s own ascetic reductionist rules [52] for purity.

Although he would probably object strenuously to this suggestion, the white patches of paint do, however, suggest something from nature, if only in the way snow piles take on different tones from the accumulation of soot and the changing angle of winter light, and if only because the human eye, by evolutionary design, creates meaning even where none is intended.

They are also orderly and restful in the same way that well-applied wallpaper is, but with the added interest of heterogeneous texture. It is nonetheless clear that this is a work of art, and not simply a series of wall paint samples; firstly, because the artist has defined it and labeled it as such, and secondly, because the paint is applied in a painterly fashion, with deliberation and care.

There is a perhaps unconscious creation of differences in texture, to which the eye, again by evolutionary design, naturally gravitates, in search of difference in the midst of sameness.

If Rheinhardt’s ideas did not directly affect others, they certainly were in current circulation. His notion of the pure abstraction of paint laid on canvas, with no apparent attempt at subject, is echoed in the works of Mark Rothko. The negativism of Rheinhardt seems to have found a fertile and sympathetic ground in Mr. Rothko.

He apparently suffered from depression and eventually took his own life [53]. His paintings of the late 40’s and beyond have been described as “veils of color”[54], which is an accurate description of the mix of heavy and delicate layers which he applies to the underlying color in one of his works, No.3/No.13 1949[55].

In this piece, the colors are conflicting, considered in terms of the color wheel, and their very difference creates interest in this work. The red and green and black almost vibrate after one looks at the canvas for a while, simply because of their complementarity and the wavelengths they reflect.

Another example of his work, No.5/No.22 1950 [56]also combines colors which clash and vibrate next to one another. However, the painting wall label notes that Rothko warned his public against merely appreciating the spectral effects, contending that he was out to express grand themes [57]. In this he seems to be in conflict with Rheinhardt, who contends that art should not be a “reflection of conditions”[58].

The interaction of the colors is subtle, but rewards close observation, and is clearly intentional. What grand themes this particular canvas communicates may be elusive, but conflict is clearly present, and where there is conflict, there is the possibility of emotion and narrative, no matter whether the artist intended it or not.

These two essays by significant figures in modern art may have reached a rather modest audience when they were first published, but clearly both had a major and lasting impact.

If only in setting down in words the feelings which artists around them were trying to express visually, they have captured an era, a mood, and a set of ambient ideas, which are still vividly in evidence today. Their words express what we take for granted in this decade. The two artists had very different attitudes towards their audience and the role of art in society, but both rejected all that went before.

Reductionism, spontaneity, and a final liberation from the need to portray the observable world, or to fit into any preconceived notion of what “art” should look like; all these ideas and others are still reverberating in the art we see being created today. Oldenburg and Rheinhardt have done us a service by documenting artistic and social urges in circulation in the lively period of the 50s and early 60s.

Bibliography

Anfam, David. “Abstract Expressionism.” Museum of Modern Art. Grove Art Online, Oxford University Press. 2009. http://www.moma.org/collection/details.php?theme_id=10051&texttype=2 (accessed April 14, 2010).

Central Park Carousel. 2010. http://carouselnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=371&Itemid=1&ed=34 (accessed April 16, 2010).

“Central Park Carrousel: In Memoriam 1950.” Museum of Modern Art. 2010. http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A1247&page_number=10&template_id=1&sort_order=1 (accessed April 19, 2010).

“Claes Oldenburg.” Independent Gallery. 2010. http://www.independentgallery.co.uk/en/pop/artist/claes_oldenburg/ (accessed April 18, 2010).

Claes Oldenburg: “Empire” (“Papa”) Ray Gun. 2010. http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A4397&page_number=2&template_id=1&sort_order=1 (accessed April 19, 2010).

“Consumer society.” The Coolidge Consumerism Archive. 2010. http://lcweb2.loc.gov:8081/ammem/amrlhtml/incritiq.html (accessed April 19, 2010).

Conway, Aaron. “Theatre of the Absurd or Theatre de la merde : The influence of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu plays on Paris Dada.” Sappy Prof Art Historian. 2010. http://www.snappyprof.com/profile/jarabs.html (accessed April 16, 2010).

Cooper, Phillip. “Joseph Cornell.” Museum of Modern Art. Grove Art Online; Oxford University Press. 2009. http://www.moma.org/collection/artist.php?artist_id=1247 (accessed April 19, 2010).

Craft, Catherine. “New York Dada? Looking Back After a Second World War, lecture given September 9, 2006.” Museum of Modern Art. 2010. http://media.moma.org/audio/2006/pub_prog/spec_exhib/Dada/MOMA_RepresentingDadatalk.pdf (accessed April 20, 2010).

Darwent, Charles. “Well-chosen works show how De Stijl – ‘The Style’ – movement led to a revolution in European art that still resonates today: Van Doesburg & the International Avant-Garde, Tate Modern, London.” The Independent. 2010. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/reviews/van-doesburg–the-international-avantgarde-tate-modern-london-1891448.html (accessed April 20, 2010).

“Floor Cake (1962): Claes Oldenburg.” Museum of Modern Art. 2010. http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A4397&page_number=18&template_id=1&sort_order=1 (accessed April 18, 2010).

Harden, Mark. “Joseph Cornell.” Art Archive. 2010. http://www.artchive.com/artchive/C/cornell.html (accessed April 19, 2010).

Harrison, C., and P. Wood. Art in Theory: 1900-1999: An Anthology of Changing Ideas. Oxford: Blackwell, 1992.

Haskell, Barbara. “Claes Oldenburg.” Museum of Modern Art. Grove Art Online, Oxford University Press. 2009. http://www.moma.org/collection/artist.php?artist_id=4397 (accessed April 13, 2010).

—. “Claes Oldenburg.” Museum of Modern Art. Grove Art Online, Oxford University Press. 2009. http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A4397&page_number=&template_id=6&sort_order=1 (accessed April 13, 2010).

Lipstick Ascending on Caterpillar Tracks. 2010. http://www.yale.edu/publicart/lipstick.html (accessed April 19, 2010).

Livingstone, Marco. “Pop Art.” Museum of Modern Art. 2009. http://www.moma.org/collection/details.php?theme_id=10170&texttype=2 (accessed April 13, 2010).

“Mark Rothko.” Art and Culture. 2010. http://www.artandculture.com/users/338-mark-rothko (accessed April 19, 2010).

“Mark Rothko: No.5/No.22 1950.” Museum of Modern Art. 2010. http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A5047&page_number=9&template_id=1&sort_order=1 (accessed April 19, 2010).

Oldenburg, Claes. “I Am For An Art…” In Art in Theory:1900-1999: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, by C. and Wood, P. Harrison, 727-730. Oxford: Blackwell, 1992.

“Pastry Case: 1961-1962.” Museum of Modern Art. 2010. http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A4397&page_number=7&template_id=1&sort_order=1 (accessed April 19, 2010).

Rheinhardt, Ad. “Art as Art.” In Art in Theory, by C. and Wood, P. Harrison, 806-809. Oxford: Blackwell, 1992.

Rothko, Mark. No.3/No.13 1949. Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Sims, Patterson. “Ad Rheinhardt.” Museum of Modern Art. Grove Art Online, Oxford University Press. 2009. http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A4856&page_number=&template_id=6&sort_order=1 (accessed April 13, 2010).

Trachtman, Paul. “Dada: The Irreverent, Rowdy Revolution Set the Trajectory of 20th Century Art.” Smithsonian Magazine. May 2006. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/dada.html (accessed April 16, 2010).

Tzara, Tristan. Dada Does Not Mean Anything, reprinted in Tristan Tzara: Biography, DADAism, and Poetry. 2010. http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/dada/Tristan-Tzara.html (accessed April 20, 2010).

Charles Harrison and Paul J. Wood, Art in Theory: 1900-1999: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, (Oxford, Blackwell, 1992), 727. Harrison and Wood contend that Pop Art was more positive, and suggest that Futurism and Pop Art together made “Mama” (Harrison and Wood 1992), a fertile progenitor, in other words, for further art evolution.
Claes Oldenburg, “I am for an Art,” in Art in Theory: 1900-1999: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, edited by Charles Harrison and Paul J. Wood (Oxford, Blackwell, 1992), 727-730. This essay was a part of the exhibition catalogue for the show “Environments” (Oldenburg 1992, 727-730)
Ad Rheinhardt, “Art for Art,” in Art in Theory: 1900-1999: An Anthology of Changing Ideas, edited by Charles Harrison and Paul J. Wood (Oxford, Blackwell, 1992), 806-809. This article was originally published in a magazine called Art International, published in Lugano, Switzerland, in December, 1962 (Rheinhardt 1992, 806-809)
David Anfam, “Abstract Expressionism,” Museum of Modern Art, 2009, http://www.moma.org/collection/details.php?theme_id=10051&texttype=2. Abstract Expressionism was the movement of such artists as Jackson Pollack and Willhelm De Kooning. (Anfam 2009)
(Oldenburg 1992, 728) As an alternative, Oldenburg suggests an art you can pick your nose with.
Barbara Haskell, “Claes Oldenburg,” Museum of Modern Art, 2009, http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A4397&page_number=&template_id=6&sort_order=1.
Tristan Tzara, “Dada Does Not Mean Anything,” reproduced in Tristan Tzara: Biography, DADAism, and Poetry, 2010, http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/dada/Tristan-Tzara.html. This essay is difficult to read but gives a clear sense of the chaotic feel of Dadaism (Tzara 2010)
Catherine Craft, “New York Dada? Looking Back After a Second World War,” lecture given September 9, 2006 as part of the MOMA exhibit “Representing DADA”, Museum of Modern Art, Web. 2010, http://media.moma.org/audio/2006/pub_prog/spec_exhib/Dada/MOMA_RepresentingDadatalk.pdf . This is a very useful resource for connecting the European Dadaists to the American versions thereof (Craft 2010).
(Rheinhardt 1992, passim)
(Harrison and Wood 1992, 806)
Patterson Sims, “Ad Rheinhardt,” Museum of Modern Art, 2009, http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A4856&page_number=&template_id=6&sort_order=1. MOMA’s webpage biographical sketch of Rheinhardt does not specify further. (Sims 2009)
Sims, in the MOMA webpage, is perhaps referring mainly to the all-black paintings of his later years (Sims 2009). ^
(Rheinhardt 1992, 806)
Ibid, 807
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid. 807
Ibid. 808
(Oldenburg 1992, passim)
Aaron Conway, “Theatre of the Absurd or Theatre de la merde : The influence of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu plays on Paris Dada,” Snappy Prof, 2010, http://www.snappyprof.com/profile/jarabs.html . These Dada soiree events, sponsored and staged by Dadaists such as Tristan Tzara and Andre Breton, included poetry (usually deliberately obscure or sexually inappropriate), presentation of spurious honors, and occasionally, riots and police action (Conway 2010).
Paul Trachtman, “Dada: The Irreverent, Rowdy Revolution Set the Trajectory of 20th Century Art,” Smithsonian Magazine.com, 2006, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/dada.html, Trachtman colorfully chronicles the antics of the Dadaists (Trachtman 2006).
This is a term from animal behavior referring to the phenomenon which occurs, for example, when researchers offer baby chicks an outsized artificial craw, or open mouth, as an alternative to a normally sized facsimile of a mother bird’s open mouth. Most animals preferentially seem to respond to the super-sized or colored artifact even more than to the real thing. Humans seem to as well, for example, in preferring artificially enhanced flavors in foods.
Barbara Haskell, “Claes Oldenburg” Museum of Modern Art, 2009, http://www.moma.org/collection/artist.php?artist_id=4397. Haskell records that Oldenburg sometimes executed “hard’, “soft” and “ghost” versions of the same subject, which Haskell suggests emphasized the formal qualities of the object (Haskell, Claes Oldenburg 2009).
“Floor Cake (1962), “ Museum of Modern Art, 2010, http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A4397&page_number=18&template_id=1&sort_order=1 . The descriptions of this and other soft sculptures show that the stuffing of these soft giant pieces is made up of cardboard boxes and other detritus, which may be a subtle critique on a consumption-mad, throwaway society (Floor Cake (1962): Claes Oldenburg 2010)
“Lipstick Ascending on Caterpiillar Tracks,” Yale.edu, 2010, http://www.yale.edu/publicart/lipstick.html. (Lipstick Ascending on Caterpillar Tracks 2010)
(Lipstick Ascending on Caterpillar Tracks 2010) The Yale website indicates that this sculpture was seen as intruding into the space allocated for formal speechifying .
“Claes Oldenburg,” Independent Gallery, 2010, http://www.independentgallery.co.uk/en/pop/artist/claes_oldenburg/.
(Harrison and Wood 1992, 806)
“Claes Oldenburg: “Empire” (“Papa”) Ray Gun,” Museum of Modern Art, 2010, http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A4397&page_number=2&template_id=1&sort_order=1. According to the gallery display label reproduced in the webpage, this was one of the props used in an Oldenburg “happening“, which took place in a church basement. He issued Ray Gun currency which could be used to acquire the other papier mache and burlap art objects on display there. This neatly combined spontaneity, egalitarianism, and the use of non-art materials all in one place and time (Claes Oldenburg: “Empire” (“Papa”) Ray Gun 2010).
(Oldenburg 1992, 728)
Mark Harden, “Joseph Cornell, “Art Archive, 2010, http://www.artchive.com/artchive/C/cornell.html. Mark Harden has created a fine webpage on Joseph Cornell, with a brief biography and partial listing of his works (Harden 2010)
“Central Park Carrousel: In Memoriam 1950,” Museum of Modern Art, 2010, http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A1247&page_number=10&template_id=1&sort_order=1. The webpage mentions wire, wood, and mirror among the media in the piece (Central Park Carrousel: In Memoriam 1950 2010).
(Central Park Carousel 2010) It was replaced by a carousel from Coney Island which was moved in some time later.
Phillip Cooper, “Joseph Cornell,” Museum Of Modern Art, 2009, http://www.moma.org/collection/artist.php?artist_id=1247. Cornell had a varied working life, when he was able to get work, according to the MOMA webpage (Cooper 2009).
Ibid.
“Pastry Case: 1961-1962,” Museum of Modern Art, 2010, http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A4397&page_number=7&template_id=1&sort_order=1. The sculpture is just about life size (Pastry Case: 1961-1962 2010). ^
“Consumer Society,” The Coolidge Consumerism Archive, 2010, http://lcweb2.loc.gov:8081/ammem/amrlhtml/incritiq.html. Consumers were a well-defined economic and social entity for the first time in the 1920s. The Depression, World War II, post-war shortages and disruptions to consumer goods production had suppressed consumption substantially. Now, in the 1960s, with servicemen at home, married, raising the baby boomers, working in peacetime industries (or Cold War ones) and buying homes, consumers were being cajoled, berated, shamed, praised, and pushed hard by 1960s advertising in an effort to catch up and rebuild the US economy. (Consumer society 2010)
“Claes Oldenburg,” Independent Gallery, 2010, http://www.independentgallery.co.uk/en/pop/artist/claes_oldenburg/ The Independent Gallery webpage asserts that the saggy food items Oldenburg portrayed are all human body analogues (Claes Oldenburg 2010)
Marco Livingstone, “Pop Art,” 2009, http://www.moma.org/collection/details.php?theme_id=10170&texttype=2. The MOMA webpage offers useful definition of the Pop Art movement, as follows: “Lawrence Alloway (1926–1990), the critic who first used the term in print in 1958, conceived of Pop art as the lower end of a popular-art to fine-art continuum, encompassing such forms as advertising, science-fiction illustration and automobile styling. Hamilton defined Pop in 1957 as: ‘Popular (designed for a mass audience); Transient (short term solution); Expendable (easily forgotten); Low Cost; Mass Produced; Young (aimed at Youth); Witty; Sexy; Gimmicky; Glamorous; and Big Business’. Hamilton set out, in paintings such as ?he (1958–61; London, Tate), to explore the hidden connotations of imagery taken directly from advertising and popular culture, making reference in the same work to pin-ups and domestic appliances as a means of commenting on the covert eroticism of much advertising presentation” (Livingstone 2009).
(Mr. Rheinhardt, it is fair to speculate, would have probably run in horror from any allegation of mentorship to the super-cult-of-personality that defined Warhol.)
(Oldenburg 1992, 728)
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
(Oldenburg 1992, 729)
Ibid.
Ibid.
Ibid.
(Oldenburg 1992, 730)
“Well-chosen works show how De Stijl – ‘The Style’ – movement led to a revolution in European art that still resonates today: Van Doesburg & the International Avant-Garde, Tate Modern, London,” The Independent.co.uk, 2010, http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/reviews/van-doesburg–the-international-avantgarde-tate-modern-london-1891448.html. (Darwent 2010)
No web page is available from the Museum of Modern Art for this work. ^
He calls for “”one size canvas, the single scheme, one formal device, one color-monochrome, one linear division in each direction, one symmetry, one texture, one free-hand brushing, one rhythm, one working everything into one dissolution, and one indivisibility…” (Rheinhardt 1992, 808)
“Mark Rothko,” Art and Culture, 2010, http://www.artandculture.com/users/338-mark-rothko.
(Mark Rothko 2010) According to this Art and Culture webpage, Rothko was described by contemporaries as a “brilliant colorist”, but he retreated into a dimly lit studio to work, as time went on, and his use of colors darkened.
Ibid.
This piece is housed at MOMA (Rothko 1949)
“Mark Rothko: No.5/No.22 1950,” Museum of Modern Art, 2010, http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?criteria=O%3AAD%3AE%3A5047&page_number=9&template_id=1&sort_order=1. The gallery display label offers this tantalizing glimpse of the man and the artist in the following quote, “If you are only moved by color relationships, then you miss the point. I’m interested in expressing the big emotions—tragedy, ecstasy, doom.” Apparently he was not reading the Rheinhardt play-book! (Mark Rothko: No.5/No.22 1950 2010)
(Rheinhardt 1992, 808)