Pace Gallery now has global representation of the joint and respective estates of two titans of Pop art: Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, who together took everyday objects and sculpted them into abstract forms and colossal dimensions, the mega-gallery told ARTnews Wednesday.
Pace will stage a major exhibition of Oldenburg’s drawings and sculptures in New York in 2024 and publish several new texts on the artist, including a catalogue raisonné dedicated to his work. Pace has formally represented the couple since 1990.
(Pace notes that they will collaborate closely with Paula Cooper Gallery, which has long worked with Oldenburg and van Bruggen.)
“Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s groundbreaking work across sculpture and performance has left an indelible mark on art history, and their legacies are deeply felt in Pace’s program,” Marc Glimcher, CEO of Pace, said in a statement. “In our work with artists’ estates, we strive to bridge the past, present, and future of art making, forging new connections between 20th century and contemporary practices. We look forward to deepening our relationship with Maartje Oldenburg, who worked closely with her father in the studio for many years, in sharing Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s transformative art with new audiences in the coming years.”
The Swedish-born Oldenburg, who died in July 2022 at 93, first exhibited with Pace in 1962, and had his first solo show with the gallery in 1964. From the beginning, his practice was defined by a desire to expand the boundaries of art, first with participatory “Happenings” which incorporated everyday objects, and later with sculpture. He created models of objects like ice cream cones and shuttlecocks at towering heights, making the innocuous imposing. One of his most famous works – installed on the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence in 1976 – is Clothespin, a 45-foot-high black steel sculpture that depicts what you’d imagine.
That same year, he began collaborating with the Dutch critic and curator Coosje van Bruggen. Their first joint project was the final iteration of Trowel I for the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo, the Netherlands. Over their long careers, they realized more than 40 works together, and had dozens of solo exhibitions. Among their most famous creations are the cheery Spoonbridge and Cherry (1985-1988) at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and Bicyclette Ensevelie (1990), a giant bicycle that protrudes from the grounds of Parc de la Villette in Paris.
Van Bruggen died of breast cancer in 2009 at 66.
“My parents’ artistic vision has always played a central role in my own life,” “I grew up surrounded by their work, and I’m honored to take up the helm of their estate. With its demonstrated expertise in estate management and longtime relationship with my parents, Pace is an essential partner in our efforts to continue building and sharing their legacies. I trust the gallery to support our work in the wake of my father’s passing last year.”
“Marc and I were recently reminiscing about the first time we met, Maartje Oldenburg, head of the Oldenburg and van Bruggen estate, told ARTnews. “I must have been home from college when my mother called me to our loft’s big working table to meet Marc. Without needing to say as much, she made it clear to me that this was an introduction with a view to the future. Almost three decades later, I am very pleased with this announcement to realize the seed she planted and celebrate a multigenerational partnership toward building and sharing my parents’ legacies.”