Further Information: The fan-foldout invitation contains instructions on how to fold the card into a three-dimensional Mickey Mouse. Using the motif of the mouse for several exhibitions, Oldenburg also created a mouse museum, about which curator Kaspar König wrote an essay. Oldenburg is most famous for monumentalizing everyday objects into “giant objects,” such as a burger blown up to oversize proportions (1.32 by 2.13 meters). Floor Burger (1962) was made of foam rubber, covered with red or brown canvas and painted with latex and liquitex. Playing with over-dimensionality and unconventional materials, it was Oldenburg who introduced the concept of ‘soft sculpture’ to contemporary art. These are sculptures that could be potentially pounded like a punching bag, squeezed like a lemon, or shaken like a sofa cushion. The journalist Petra Kipphoff described the exhibition at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf in her Die Zeit review as follows: “Da hängt zum Beispiel eine riesengroße Säge an der Wand und setzt sich, dreifach, geknickt, am Boden in den Raum hinein fort; oder eine Schreibmaschine aus schwarzem Plastik sinkt lustlos in sich zusammen; oder aus einem Aschenbecher vom Format eines Goldfischteiches quellen malträtierte Zigarettenkippen.” (For example, a gigantic saw hangs on the wall and continues on the floor into the room with three bends; or a typewriter made of black plastic collapses listlessly; or maltreated cigarette butts pour out of an ashtray the size of a goldfish pond.)
From: Petra Kipphof, Der große Weichmacher. Zur Claes-Oldenburg-Retrospektive in der Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Die Zeit, 24 April 1970. Read full review under the following link.
Together with Jim Dine, Marc Ratliff and Tom Wesselmann, Oldenburg co-founded the Judson Gallery at the Judson Memorial Church in 1959. More about this project can be found via an invitation card for a benefit for Judson Memorial Church.
Images: Images of the invitation and all other archival documents shown on this page are part of the online collection of Archiv der Avantgarden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.