Claes Oldenburg’s Burgers at the MoMA

Claes Oldenburg is going to show a survey of his oeuvre at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The exhibition, The Street and the Store, which will open this Sunday April 14th, will feature two of Oldenburg’s major installations and of course his iconic soft sculptures, including the cherry pies, cakes and pork chops. The first installation, The Street, is about how he saw and knew New York, especially the Lower East Side, in the early 1960s. The installation The Store features mostly his iconic sculptures of food. The Store really used to exist back in 1961, on Second Avenue. For the exhibition, he simulated this store. His works are often explained as an indictment on the consumer society that arose in the sixties.

The Floor Burger (shown on the picture) from 1962 caused uproar in 1967 when the Art Gallery of Ontario purchased it from New York’s Sidney Janis Gallery for $2000,-. This started a protest by a group of art students and teachers. They held large banners that said: “Don’t burger up our gallery!” In response, they created a giant bottle of ketchup and ‘exhibited’ the work in front of the museum. This Floor Burger will also return to the MoMA for this exhibition.

According to Oldenburg himself, MoMA’s then-director Alfred Barr stopped by The Store one day and purchased “Double Cheeseburger – With Everything”. He brought the work back to the MoMA, where it has remained ever since.