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Spoonbridge and Cherry, Claes Oldenburg
Photograph: Checubus / Shutterstock.com

Where to see Claes Oldenburg’s art around the world

Claes Oldenburg’s pop art sculptures are titanic triumphs of wit and beauty. Here’s where to see some of the artist’s most iconic works

Ed Cunningham
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Ed Cunningham
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From massive versions of everyday stuff like hamburgers and lipsticks to witty pieces that interact with the surrounding landscape, Claes Oldenburg was known for his huge, weird, really fun works of public art. You know when you see an Oldenburg: they’re brash, colourful and absurd – and they probably make you chuckle.

Oldenburg, who died earlier this week at the age of 93, was one of the best-known figures in the pop art movement (y’know the one – Andy Warhol, Roy Liechtenstein and the like). And while the Swedish-born American sculptor created loads of different types of sculpture throughout his life, his legacy is best expressed by his massive public sculptures, which were often made alongside his long-time collaborator and wife Coosje van Bruggen.

Although many of Oldenburg’s most famous artworks are stationed outside art galleries in the USA (he was, after all, an American citizen), they can also be found pretty much all over the world. Below are five of his most epic pieces that you can visit.

Where to see Claes Oldenburg’s pop art sculptures

‘Spoonbridge and Cherry’ (1988)
Photograph: Checubus / Shutterstock.com

‘Spoonbridge and Cherry’ (1988)

What is it? Kicking off with one of Oldenburg’s most iconic designs: a cherry improbably balanced on the end of a spoon. A stream of water famously douses the cherry, making it gleam in all lights. And no, just because it straddles a lake doesn’t mean you can use it as an actual bridge.

Where is it? Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, USA.

‘Saw, Sawing’ (1996)
Photograph: sugar fresh 1 / Shutterstock.com

‘Saw, Sawing’ (1996)

What is it? A saw, sawing through the earth, get it? This sculpture was Oldenburg’s first commissioned in Japan and, with its bright orange handle and jagged weirdness, is designed to contrast with the surrounding area’s cold, sheer glass high-rises. 

Where is it? Tokyo International Exhibition Center, Tokyo, Japan.

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‘Dropped Cone’ (2001)
Photograph: Christian Mueller / Shutterstock.com

‘Dropped Cone’ (2001)

What is it? Find the Primark at Cologne’s Neumarkt Galerie and look up to find a gigantic, 12-metre-long upside-down ice cream teetering over the street corner. It’s also a cheeky reference to the high number of pointy church spires in the surrounding area. 

Where is it? Neumarkt Galerie, Cologne, Germany.

‘Bottle of Notes’ (1993)
Photograph: Paul Hudson / Wikimedia Commons

‘Bottle of Notes’ (1993)

What is it? Plonked like a message in a bottle outside the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, this giant bottle is fashioned out of letters that spell out one of Captain Cook’s journal entries.

Where is it? Middlesbrough Central Square, Middlesbrough, UK.

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‘Binoculars’ (1991)
Photograph: barteverett / Shutterstock.com

‘Binoculars’ (1991)

What is it? This structure is both a sculpture and a building. Designed to link-up the two buildings either side, inside are two tall, cylindrical spaces (i.e. the main binocular scopes) and a conference room.  

Where is it? 340 Main Street, Los Angeles, USA

Now check out some much smaller art

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