Claes Oldenburg - Proposal for a Colossal Monument in Downtown NYC
American, b.1929
Proposal for a Colossal Monument in Downtown NYC, 1993
Etching, 32.5 x 22 inches
Edition 6/60
Pace Editions Inc.

Gift of William J. Lutz and Karen Wicklund Lutz (MBA '78)

Claes Oldenburg, the renowned Pop Art sculptor, is also one of the great draftsmen of the twentieth century. His imaginative drawings and prints have been the basis for his sculpture, especially the large-scale projects. He is renowned for taking everyday objects and recreating them as sculpture in a variety of materials that transform their original identities. He also employs surprising changes in scale and materials. One of his wittiest strategies is to take what is hard and make it soft. The ordinary becomes fantastical.

An inveterate New Yorker, Oldenburg's downtown home and studio has a clear view of the Woolworth Building. Always fascinated by the Gothic crown of the skyscraper, he appropriates it in this etching for a fantastical scene. It has toppled to the ground, assuming its place on the plaza as a readymade large-scale project. But it also carries a double identity as perhaps a pencil sharpener for a monumental pencil fragment, whose graphite tip may have mysteriously filled-in the plaza and flanking buildings. And, as the fine draftsman he is, the pencil also becomes a whimsical tribute to the artist.