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Claes Oldenburg's images of consumerism, executed in disorienting materials, dimensions, and environments, made him a key figure in pop art. Today his large sculptures are modern monuments which have made this artist famous far beyond the art world. In th
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Much of the narration comes from the artist himself as he describes his techniques and draws illustrations as he talks. It's great that producer/director Gerald Fox captured this on High Def film. Others who comment include fellow artists James Rosenquist, Roy Lichtenstein and Oldenburg's early collaborator Jim Dine plus a few art dealers and critics. One of those "critics" is Hilton Kramer who I hope was only included as a "counterpoint" to all the accolades of Oldenburg's works by his fans. Kramer calls Oldenburg's large sculptures (giant ice cream cone, clothespin, broken button) "sculpture pollution" and Kramer has nothing good to say about the art. Actually, his comments become quite annoying.
Oldenburg's wife - and co-collaborator since 1981 - Coosje Van Broojen provides insight on how they work as a team.
While most of the footage is current (well, at the time the film was made) there are a few pieces of archival film from Oldenburg's "happenings" in NYC in 1961-62.
This is not a biography and his birthplace (Oslo) or schooling are never mentioned. The enclosed booklet (in both English and German) provides this info in a two-page essay. (The DVD also has a German as well as English soundtrack option).
The bonus feature is a slide show of 32 photos of work shown in the film. The quality of the images is not up to the high standards of the film. This is a small complaint however.
I give this film five stars because of the insight it provides into Oldenburg's works and the large amount of narration from the artist. I regularly see the two large Oldenburg sculptures in Philadelphia (the clothespin and the large Button) and I learned a lot more about the artist who created them (in the 1970s) from this DVD.