Claes Oldenburg

Drawings 1965-1973

December 5, 2008 – January 31, 2009

Press Release

NEW YORK – Craig F. Starr Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of Claes Oldenburg drawings, on view from December 5, 2008 until January 31, 2009.  Scratchings in the Asphalt: the Early Drawings of Claes Oldenburg will include a selection of drawings completed between 1959 and 1973.  Accompanying the exhibition is an illustrated catalogue with an essay by author and art historian James Herbert.

Claes Oldenburg is an important founding member of the Pop Art movement.  His landmark public sculptures and groundbreaking soft sculptures and performance pieces have become touchstones in the international cultural landscape.  He is also widely regarded as one of the pre-eminent draughtsmen of his generation.  His drawings have always held an important place in his studio practice, both as independent works of art and in relation to his public sculptures.

Scratchings in the Asphalt focuses on Oldenburg’s early drawings, made as he was just beginning to achieve a degree of recognition.  They range from the nearly entirely text-based, including an unused advertisement for a show and several speech-bubble pieces, to studies of objects and scenes (real or imaginary), and plans for outdoor monuments.  What is constant across this range of subject matter is a highly imaginative, playful, and masterful approach to drawing.  Oldenburg’s link between his imagination and materials is always profoundly clear and refreshingly economical: these works allow us to experience the straightforward, substantive pleasure of looking and wondering.