Oldenburg and van Bruggen: The Typewriter Eraser, A Favored Form

Considered one of the founders of Pop Art, Claes Oldenburg’s (American, born Sweden, 1929) provocative work transforms common objects into colossal sculptures that upend the conventional relationship between viewer and subject. Typewriter Eraser, Scale X, 1999, made in partnership with his wife, Coosje van Bruggen (American, born Netherlands, 1942-2009), is recent gift from Trustee Ronnie Heyman and a signature work that stands at the Norton’s new entrance. To celebrate this significant donation, this exhibition examines Oldenburg’s early interpretations of the typewriter eraser, a subject that has inspired him since the late 1960s and culminates in the large-scale collaborations with van Bruggen. The exhibition brings together sculpture and works on paper that illustrate an array of styles, orientations and materials that Oldenburg used to depict the ever morphing forms of this recurring theme. Together, they chronicle the visual evolution of one of Oldenburg’s favorite subjects that, according to the artist, “is a presence in itself.” The exhibition is curated by Assistant Curator J. Rachel Gustafson.

Organized by the Norton Museum of Art. Support for this exhibition was provided by the Mr. and Mrs. Hamish Maxwell Exhibition Endowment and the Diane Belfer Endowment for Sculpture.