Claes Oldenburg, Floor Burger
Claes Oldenburg, Floor Burger, 1962. Canvas filled with foam rubber and cardboard boxes, painted with acrylic paint, Overall: 132.1 x 226.1 cm. Purchase, 1967. © Claes Oldenburg. 66/29.
“If you’re going to make sculpture out of real things around you, then why not try to make them soft so that you can push them around, and they’ll change shape?” - Claes Oldenburg
What is soft sculpture?
When you hear the word sculpture, you might think of carved marble or a bronze statue. In the 1960s, artists challenged such definitions of sculpture by experimenting with unconventional materials. Claes Oldenburg, and other artists associated with the Pop Art movement, also engaged with themes such as popular culture, consumerism and mass production. Oldenburg began to transform everyday objects into larger-than-life statement pieces. Made out of canvas, this stuffed representation of a big, juicy hamburger is a major work of art from this period.
Did you know?
In artist Yayoi Kusama’s autobiography Infinity Net, she reveals that she may have been the inspiration behind Oldenburg’s soft sculptures. In 1962, she debuted her hand-sewn soft sculptures at a group show, which included Oldenburg. Not long after her debut, Oldenburg exhibited his soft sculptures at a solo show in the same gallery. According to Kusama, Oldenburg’s then-wife Patty, who helped him sew his sculptures, approached her and said, “Yayoi, forgive us!”