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Ice Bag–Scale C

1971

Claes Oldenburg, Ice Bag–Scale C, 1971. Fiber-reinforced polyester resin, lacquer, nylon cloth saturated with neoprene, plywood, steel, fans, and motors, 132 × 160 in. (335.3 × 406.4 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Howard and Jean Lipman Foundation Inc.  72.4a-rr
© Claes Oldenburg
Ice Bag is a sculpture that moves! It inflates and deflates like a balloon, it rises and lowers, and it also twists around in two directions. It is powered by six fans hidden inside the base. The fans are on a timer that makes the bag move up and down. This Ice Bag is enormous. It measures about twelve feet high and about thirteen feet across.

Ice bags were used similarly to ice packs today. If you had a headache, or a bruise on your knee, you would put ice cubes into this kind of bag and apply it where it hurt. This ice bag seems like a creature that has a life of its own as it “breathes!”


Claes Oldenburg discusses his Ice Bag-Scale C and the addition of movement that produces what Oldenburg describes as the Ice Bag’s “magic effect.”

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