Claes Oldenburg - Editions & Works on Paper New York Tuesday, October 17, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Gemini G.E.L. 705

  • Catalogue Essay

    Claes Oldenburg, witty and inventive, decontextualized mundane objects in ways that stretched them to absurdity. A pop art pioneer, he continually questioned the inherent distinction between high art and the everyday, challenging our assumptions of and our relationships to objects and our environments, through appropriating aesthetic forms typically overlooked and underappreciated. The screw is one such form that Oldenberg referenced throughout his oeuvre. The screw has been represented on paper and in three dimensions, constantly reimagined and re-contextualized in Oldenburgs mind. Playing with scale and material, the screw has been reinterpreted as a bridge, an arch, and here as a nearly 4 foot high monument cast in elastomeric urethane, a tactile and rubberlike material.

    The form of the editioned work (this example) recall classical monumental obelisks, such as those originally built by Egyptians, or a more contemporary example, the Washington Monument. Echoing this form as such, Oldenburg seemingly makes a statement exalting the everyday building blocks of our lives - the simple screw becomes a monument to human accomplishment and infrastructure. Although one is tempted to read it in such a way, the droopy nature of the form reminds one of the impending decay – a Vanitas of sorts.

    The present editioned sculpture was created in collaboration with Gemini G.E.L, Los Angeles, who are known for their inventive and risk-taking approach to object making. Oldenberg worked with Gemini on just over 70 editions, both prints and editioned sculptures, from 1968 to 1994.

Property from a Private New England Collection


Soft Screw

Cast elastomeric urethane multiple with mahogany base.
48 1/2 x 11 1/2 x 11 1/2 in. (123.2 x 29.2 x 29.2 cm)
Signed, titled, dated and numbered 23/24 on the underside (there were also 3 artist's copies), published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles.

$30,000 - 40,000 

Contact Specialist
Kelly Troester
Worldwide Co-Head of Editions, Modern
+1 212 940 1221

Cary Leibowitz
Worldwide Co-Head of Editions, Contemporary
+1 212 940 1222

Jannah Greenblatt
+1 212 940 1332

General Enquiries
+1 212 940 1220

Editions & Works on Paper

New York Auction 17 October 2017