Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen

Soft Shuttlecocks, Falling, Number Two

Not on view



Graphite pencil, fabricated chalk and pastel on paper

Sheet: 27 5/8 × 39 3/8in. (70.2 × 100 cm)

Accession number

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from The Lauder Foundation, Evelyn and Leonard Lauder Fund

Rights and reproductions
© Claes Oldenburg


Coosje van Bruggen and Claes Oldenburg collaborated on more than forty large-scale projects in the United States and around the world. Soft Shuttlecocks, Falling, Number Two is one of several drawings begun in preparation for a large-scale project at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. For the installation, Oldenburg and van Bruggen capitalized on what they felt was the site’s resemblance to a tennis court. Imagining the building as the net, they designed a series of four shuttlecocks to scatter on the grounds in different positions, thus configuring an enormous game of badminton. To create these massive structures, the team relied on drawings to elaborate their complex visions. “Everything begins with a drawing,” Oldenburg maintains. “That’s when you make your fantasy visible. You put it on paper, and then you go from there.” This work, however, is not a preliminary representation of a realized sculpture. Rather, it is a detailed exploration into the proposed concept, in which the artists experimented with the way feathers fly, float, and contort in the air. Completed the year after the installation of the Nelson-Atkins commission, the drawing represents a finished work of art in itself.