Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen

Notebook Pages: A Dialogue

Spanning two decades, this show included 150 works on paper from the artists’ notebooks, which reflect the thoughts and conversations from which their projects spring. This exhibition, organized by Marianne Stockebrand, Director of the Chinati Foundation, with the artists, marked the premiere exhibition of this body of work.

Oldenburg and van Bruggen have collaborated on large-scale projects since the mid-1970s. Their work reclaims quotidian objects, transforming them into sculptures of great humor, poise, and whimsy. With their original work, Oldenburg and van Bruggen have redefined public spaces across the United States and abroad. The notebook drawings in this exhibition included ink, watercolor, collage, as well as pencil sketches of works such as Clothespin (1976), Philadelphia; Screwarch (1983), Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Stake Hitch (1984), Dallas Art Museum, Texas; and Monument to the Last Horse (1991) Chinati Foundation, Marfa. Also part of this show were exuberant drawings of seemingly animate food on and off the plate, and studies for the proposed costumes and events from their huge and ceremonial production Il Corso del Coltello in Venice, Italy, which culminated with the gigantic Knifeship (a red Swiss army knife with all parts in motion) making its way down the grand canal.

Claes Oldenburg was born in 1920 in Stockholm, Sweden. Coosje v an Bruggen was born in 1942 in Groningen, The Netherlands. The artists live and work in New York. Recent museum exhibitions include Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Turin (2006-07); Claes Oldenberg with Coosje van Bruggen: Drawings 1992-1998, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2002); On the Roof, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2001); Claes Oldenberg, Coosje van Bruggen (sculptures, models and drawings together with the large scale project Lions Tail for the Piazza San Marco), Coner Museum, Venice, Italy (1999).