dear d.garcia, thank you for posting this manifesto/poem. i read that Oldenburg had died yesterday. another legend to say goodbye to. unfortunately, artists get recognized and then they get interpreted, frequently badly by curators, buyers, art historians and theorists who place them and put them. Often what is said has nothing to do with why or how the artist did what they did and then conceptually, everyone went against this problem and wanted to self-represent so as to be understood, or so that they would not be misunderstood and then were misunderstood years later when the "simplicity" of making material objects produced less dissonance. thank you for publishing his own words.
his art can be seen as "bloated corporate pop art" - but, i'd like to credit him with having made art more accessible to people, and for bridging gaps in low-high thinking about art, and certainly as a welcome counter move to AbEX bravado, even with his exaggerated scale. today his iconic works can and should be critiqued for their benign, mid-century modernist appeal, maybe. nationalist? colonialist? banal? white-bred? maybe...democratic...i'd like to think more along these lines... pie, baseball, hamburgers - there is nothing edgy about these objects and by today's critical standards they may even appear to likeable to be art. not half the critical wit of Duane Hanson, but then, which one would you put in your yard? if you have a yard...he made many of the 'bloated' pieces in the early 1960s right about the time of this text you sent. i am going to give this to my students Oldenburg brought a non-intimidating abstraction to art - by appealing to ordinary things and people and at a monumental scale. He boosted the little guy or gal; the one who made the pie with meringue. They are ordinary and democratic. There is something to be said for that as lasting monumental mementos of what may now be a failing democracy. The baseball bat in Chicago is hollow. So tall. Rusting. Admirably iconic engineering achievement in this way, and yet, a kind of surreal Magritte's comb amidst smaller buildings and structures. Left behind by a giant player. You can say, why make an icon like that, but I think it is more a relic that no one else thought to make. It doesn't exactly celebrate baseball, more the form of the bat. the giant diaper pin at the deYoung is similarly. Not an orgiastic nod to diaper-changing, rather, it is about the peculiar form of abstraction that occurs when something is oversized and maybe it is a monument to the decades before Pampers! soft sculpture pieces are made from toxic awful materials probably, but i still like them. lastly, the Ray Gun Museum is brilliant, as is the Mouse Museum. These works were so evocative when I saw them in New York in about 1987. early installation of a slanted banal motel room is also brilliant. forgot title. RIP Claes Oldenburg - he left so much behind to grace the landscape. Benign can be a good thing molly On Tue, Jul 19, 2022 at 6:14 AM <d.gar...@new-tactical-research.co.uk> wrote: > Yesterday at a ripe old age of 93 Claes Oldenburg died. For those who > may know him only as a purveyor of bloated corporate pop art of his > later years may be surprised just how radical he was when he started out > and just how different he was from the pop-artists who bought > uncritically into consumerist ethos. His early ‘floppy’ sculptures ( > constructed largely by his wife who got little recognition) are raw and > challenging. His drawings are some of the most vivid of the era. But to > get a real flavour of his outlook you can do no better than his > manifesto “I Am For…” 1961. Sixty years later it still rings true. > > I Am For… (Statement, 1961) > I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something > other than sit on its ass in a museum. > I am for an art that grows up not knowing it is art at all, an art given > the chance of having a starting point of zero. > I am for an art that embroils itself with the everyday crap and still > comes out on top. > I am for an art that imitates the human, that is comic, if necessary, or > violent, or whatever is necessary. > I am for all art that takes its form from the lines of life itself, that > twists and extends and accumulates and spits and drips, and is heavy and > coarse and blunt and sweet and stupid as life itself. > I am for an artist who vanishes, turning up in a white cap painting > signs or hallways. > I am for art that comes out of a chimney like black hair and scatters in > the sky. > I am for art that spills out of an old man’s purse when he is bounced > off a passing fender. > I am for the art out of a doggie’s mouth, falling five stories from the > roof. > I am for the art that a kid licks, after peeling away the wrapper. > I am for an art that joggles like everyone’s knees, when the bus > traverses an excavation. > I am for art that is smoked like a cigarette, smells like a pair of > shoes. > I am for art that flaps like a flag, or helps blow noses like a > handkerchief. > I am for art that is put on and taken off like pants, which develops > holes like socks, which is eaten like a piece of pie, or abandoned with > great contempt like a piece of shit. > I am for art covered with bandages. I am for art that limps and rolls > and runs and jumps. > I am for art that comes in a can or washes up on the shore. > I am for art that coils and grunts like a wrestler. I am for art that > sheds hair. > I am for art you can sit on. I am for art you can pick your nose with or > stub your toes on. > I am for art from a pocket, from deep channels of the ear, from the edge > of a knife, from the corners of the mouth, stuck in the eye or worn on > the wrist. > I am for art under the skirts, and the art of pinching cockroaches. > I am for the art of conversation between the sidewalk and a blind man’s > metal stick. > I am for the art that grows in a pot, that comes down out of the skies > at night, like lightning, that hides in the clouds and growls. I am for > art that is flipped on and off with a switch. > I am for art that unfolds like a map, that you can squeeze, like your > sweetie’s arm, or kiss like a pet dog. Which expands and squeaks like an > accordion, which you can spill your dinner on like an old tablecloth. > I am for an art that you can hammer with, stitch with, sew with, paste > with, file with. > I am for an art that tells you the time of day, or where such and such a > street is. > I am for an art that helps old ladies across the street. > I am for the art of the washing machine. I am for the art of a > government check. I am for the art of last war’s raincoat. > I am for the art that comes up in fogs from sewer holes in winter. I am > for the art that splits when you step on a frozen puddle. I am for the > worm’s art inside the apple. I am for the art of sweat that develops > between crossed legs. > I am for the art of neck hair and caked teacups, for the art between the > tines of restaurant forks, for the odor of boiling dishwater. > I am for the art of sailing on Sunday, and the art of red-and-white > gasoline pumps. > I am for the art of bright blue factory columns and blinking biscuit > signs. > I am for the art of cheap plaster and enamel. I am for the art of worn > marble and smashed slate. I am for the art of rolling cobblestones and > sliding sand. I am for the art of slag and black coal. I am for the art > of dead birds. > I am for the art of scratching in the asphalt, daubing at the walls. I > am for the art of bending and kicking metal and breaking glass, and > pulling at things to make them fall down. > I am for the art of punching and skinned knees and sat-on bananas. I am > for the art of kids’ smells. I am for the art of mama-babble. > I am for the art of bar-babble, tooth-picking, beer-drinking, > egg-salting, in-sulting. I am for the art of falling off a barstool. > I am for the art of underwear and the art of taxicabs. I am for the art > of ice-cream cones dropped on concrete. I am for the majestic art of dog > turds, rising like cathedrals. > I am for the art of bread wet by rain. I am for the rat’s dance between > floors. I am for the art of flies walking on a slick pear in the > electric light. I am for the art of soggy onions and firm green shoots. > I am for the art of clicking among the nuts when the roaches come and > go. I am for the brown sad art of rotting apples. > I am for the art of meows and clatter of cats and for the art of their > dumb electric eyes. > I am for the white art of refrigerators and their muscular openings and > closings. > I am for the art of rust and mold. I am for the art of hearts, funeral > hearts or sweetheart hearts, full of nougat. I am for the art of worn > meat hooks and singing barrels of red, white, blue, and yellow meat. > I am for the art of things lost or thrown away, coming home from school. > I am for the art of cock-and-ball trees and flying cows and the noise of > rectangles and squares. I am for the art of crayons and weak, gray > pencil lead, and grainy wash and sticky oil paint, and the art of > windshield wipers and the art of the finger on a cold window, on dusty > steel or in the bubbles on the sides of a bathtub. > I am for the art of teddy bears and guns and decapitated rabbits, > exploded umbrellas, raped beds, chairs with their brown bones broken, > burning trees, firecracker ends, chicken bones, pigeon bones, and boxes > with men sleeping in them. > > I am for the art of slightly rotten funeral flowers, hung bloody rabbits > and wrinkly yellow chickens, bass drums and tambourines, and plastic > phonographs. > I am for the art of abandoned boxes, tied like pharaohs. I am for an art > of water tanks and speeding clouds and flapping shades. > I am for US Government Inspected Art, Grade A art, Regular Price art, > Yellow Ripe art, Extra Fancy art, Ready-to-Eat art, Best-for-Less art, > Ready-to-Cook art, Fully Cleaned art, Spend Less art, Eat Better art, > Ham art, pork art, chicken art, tomato art, banana art, apple art, > turkey art, cake art, cookie art… > > # distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission > # <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism, > # collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets > # more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l > # archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: nett...@kein.org > # @nettime_bot tweets mail w/ sender unless #ANON is in Subject:
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