Date: American sculptor, draftsman, and printmaker, born 1929 in Sweden
Biography: Claes Oldenburg moved to New York in 1956 and became quickly involved with the group of artists surrounding Allan Kaprow, many of whom were interested in the creation of assemblages, found-object environments, and happenings in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Oldenburg's experimentation with happenings—early examples of performance art—led to the creation of environments in which the artist created plaster versions of commercial and manufactured objects to be sold in temporary storefront galleries. The first environment, known as The Store, was also a place for experimental theatrical events.
Oldenburg shifted his focus from performance to sculpture and began creating large-scale soft sculptures of everyday items, and in the mid 1960s those objects became the subjects of imaginary outdoor monuments. He realized the creation of the first colossal monument in 1969 with the fabrication of Lipstick Ascending, on Caterpillar Tracks, which was installed on the campus of Yale University. He continued to create both imaginary and realized monumental outdoor sculpture and began collaborating with his wife, writer Coosje van Bruggen, whom he married in 1977.