Art For


     Born in Sweden, Claes Oldenburg (American, b.1929) is a well-known sculptor associated with the Pop Art movement. While he was a baby, Oldenburg’s family moved to the United States, first settling in New York, and from 1936 in Chicago, where Oldenburg lived until he attended Yale University. Oldenburg moved to New York in 1956, where he met artists Jim Dine (American, b.1935) and Allan Kaprow (American, 1927–2006), who were working to break the mold of the prior generation of Abstract Expressionists. Oldenburg’s early exhibits in New York feature environments assembled from images, papier mâché, and plaster sculpture, such as his project The Street, which included debris, signs, silhouettes of figures, and other objects evoking an urban setting.     

      In 1961, Oldenburg staged his most famous happening, The Store, in which he rented space amidst actual shops on the East Side to sell traditional store goods recast as plaster sculptures, exposing the 

Clothespin at the Center City section of Philadelphia

Free Stamp at city hall, Cleveland, Ohio

Soft Three-Way Plug at the Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa

Apple Core at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Claes Oldenburg 

relationship between art and commodities. Naming his performances the product of the invented “Ray Gun Theater,” Oldenburg began to incorporate monumental soft sculptures made from stuffed vinyl or inflatable materials. These works, sagging with gravity, humorously evoke the human body, forcing viewers to confront everyday objects in radically different circumstances. In 1965, Oldenburg began to design imaginary outdoor monuments, most of which were never realized, with his inflatable Lipstick Ascending, on Caterpillar Tracks being the most notable exception after its installation at Yale University.

     From the 1970s onward, Oldenburg focused on large outdoor public sculptures constructed with Cor-Ten steel, such as his Free Stamp in Cleveland, Ohio, Giant Trowel in Otterlo, the Netherlands, and Crusoe Umbrella in Des Moines, Iowa. Oldenburg often collaborated with his wife, artist Coosje van Bruggen (Dutch/American, 1942–2009), on these large-scale projects. 


Cruso Umbrella, Cowles Commons, Des Moines. Iowa

Plantoir Blue at Rockefeller Center, New York

Typewriter Eraser and Scale at the CityCenter, Las Vegas

My Art

& Other 


Often Break

Words and music by Dave Granger and Clark Williams

Arranged by Clark Williams 

October 1980 

Time: 6:16

(Click our picture to listen to the original cassette recording)

If ever it's a rainy day

I pack myself up in my room

Then chase all the clouds away

Get myself back to you



Well I know that you're going to cry

Tears are running from your eyes

A piece of my love you take

Is one that so often break 


If ever you're miles away

I'll think of you the way you are

Your shining hair your ruby lips

Then it don't seem quite so far 

Harmonica lament break:



Very long jam session:


Repeat 2nd. verse




I Won’t Touch/Taking a Ride

Words and music by Dave Granger and Clark Williams

Arranged by Clark Williams 

October 1980 

Time: 9:40


(A song about getting over from being bullied


You might think I've hidden my shame

of things I've said and done

Who am I to play this silly game?

When there's no way to tell if I've won

No way to tell if I've won



I won't touch

No, I won't feel

Won't hurt as much because it won't even seem real

Won't feel pain

No, and I won't feel sorrow

I'll just wait and wonder who I am tomorrow


Quick Harmonica break:

And freedom is something that everybody needs

But you can't chase it blindly 

You can't run but must walk proud 

No peace of mind comes with its finding

Peace of mind sure is fine, sure is fine

I'd like to find peace of mind




Eclectic guitars and forsaken dreams

Are kept in closets to hide them

I think it's time to open up the doors

To do our best to find them

Do our best to find them



Oh yeah!

It's time to touch

Yes it's time to feel

It's going to hurt so much

But it's the only way I'll heal

I'll feel pain and soon I'll feel sorrow

I'll wake up knowing

I'm so happy

So happy



(Lead-out harmonica solo then go into "Taking a Ride")

Art Studio Commune 

East 6th and Grand Ave. Des Moines, Iowa,  circa 1970 something. I had it in 1983, 84, 85.