" I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum... I am for the art of underwear and the art of taxicabs. I am for the art of ice cream cones dropped on concrete...I am for an art that takes its forms from the lines of life itself, that twists and extends and accumulates and spits and drips and is heavy and coarse and blunt and sweet and stupid as life itself. "
1929- Swedish born American artist
Raised in Chicago, educated in English Literature at Yale.
He began his career associated with Abstract Expressionism but left in the late 50's and struck off in another direction.
In 1959, he had an exhibition of sculture made of found objects. Shortly thereafter, he began making the larger than life sculpture that he's known for, hambergers, clothespins, toasters, telephones, etc.
He became a major figure in Pop art, also worked and an early form of Performance Art called Happenings. Best known for his large soft sculptures like giant inflated hamburgers, etc.
Artists associated with Claes:
Part of the Fluxus movement.
His work is included in the permanent collection of:
Brown, Milton W., "American Art", Harry Abrams, NY, 1979.
Tompkins, Calvin, "Off The Wall, Robert Rauschenberg and the Art World of Our Time", Penguin, New York, 1980
Last Updated 12.30.03