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Claes Oldenburg

b. 1929

Claes Oldenburg, Braselette, 1961  91.34.5
Claes Oldenburg, Giant BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Sandwich), 1963  2002.255a-s  
Claes Oldenburg, Soft Toilet, 1966  79.83a-b
Claes Oldenburg, Ice Bag–Scale C, 1971  72.4a-rr

November 1, 2011
Walter Annenberg Annual Lecture: Claes Oldenburg

From left, Claes Oldenburg and Adam D. Weinberg. Photograph by Tiffany Oelfke
From left, Claes Oldenburg and Adam D. Weinberg. Photograph by Tiffany Oelfke
Claes Oldenburg and Adam D. Weinberg discussing The Store. Photograph by Tiffany Oelfke
Claes Oldenburg and Adam D. Weinberg discussing The Store. Photograph by Tiffany Oelfke
Claes Oldenburg and Adam D. Weinberg. Photograph by Tiffany Oelfke
Claes Oldenburg and Adam D. Weinberg. Photograph by Tiffany Oelfke
Claes Oldenburg and Adam D. Weinberg. Photograph by Tiffany Oelfke
Claes Oldenburg and Adam D. Weinberg. Photograph by Tiffany Oelfke

One of the most innovative artists of the postwar period, Claes Oldenburg is best known for work that disrupts our expectations of how objects “behave.” Since the beginning of his career, Oldenburg has focused his attention and immense talent on ordinary, commonplace items, such as kitchen appliances, bathroom fixtures, and various foods. As he once explained, “I make my work out of my everyday experiences, which I find as perplexing and extraordinary as can be.” The Whitney has championed his work for several decades and now possesses one of the world’s largest collections of his art. In this seventh Annenberg Lecture, Oldenburg speaks about his work in conversation with Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director.

In honor of the late Walter H. Annenberg, philanthropist, patron of the arts, and former ambassador, the Whitney Museum of American Art established the Walter Annenberg Annual Lecture to advance this country’s understanding of its art and culture.