Thursday, October 05, 2006

Yes, but is it art?

I first found out about Claes Oldenburg's art on a trip to Cleveland last year. Most of Cleveland was filled with sculptures of artistic renderings of guitars in a public art project called Guitar Mania.

However, walking back to the hotel from an Indians-White Sox game, we walked through Willard Park and we saw the following sculpture. As you can see, it is a giant rubber stamp with the word "free" on it. What is this supposed to mean? That the Cleveland judicial system lets most criminals go free? Is this a statement of the US legal system post-OJ Simpson? Is it meant to be ironic?

The person who sculpted it, Claes Oldenburg is part of that Pop Art genre started by John McHale and made famous by Andy Warhol. Oldenburg's work tends to be very large reproductions of things that are much smaller like a broken button, a shattered dish...etc etc.

Here is a picture of my pal Elvis in front of the statue just so you can see the actual size of the thing. As I am taking this picture, he is yelling at all of us complaining about the stupidity of this art.

According to wikipedia, Oldenburg has jokingly been referred to as "the thinking man's Burt Reynolds". Is that term meant to be ironic? Since Burt Reynolds has really been in only one great movie, some decent movies and a whole lot of crap. What does a thinking man's Burt Reynolds even mean?

Top 5 Burt Reynolds films
1. Deliverance
2. The Longest Yard (the 1974 version)
3. Boogie Nights
4. Switching Channels
5. Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid To Ask)



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