Swedish-born influential sculptor Claes Oldenburg – whose monumental creations of everyday objects delight millions – has died at the age of 93 at his New York City home.
The Pace gallery representing him said he had recently collapsed. It described him as “one of the most radical artists of the 20th century in the development of pop art”.
Oldenburg, who moved to America in the 1950s, is known for his trademark works depicting clothespins, baseball bats, hamburgers and electric plugs. Many of his sculptures adorn public spaces in America and around the world.
“My intention is to make an everyday object that eludes definition,” he was quoted as saying in The New York Times.
“So I made several studies of buildings that I would propose for cities in the form of objects. There’s a whole collection of them, including several for New York.”
His proposals took the form of self-consciously absurd drawings. In one sketch from 1965, for instance, he presents a giant teddy bear sitting slumped at the north end of Central Park – turning the entire city into a playground.
The sculptor never believed that his tongue-in-cheek ideas would actually be built – he was more interested in creating playful ideas that were amusing and slightly sinister at the same time.