Claes Oldenburg was born in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1929, but spent most of his childhood in the United States. After studies at Yale University and the Art Institute of Chicago, he moved in 1956 to New York City, where he established himself in the early 1960s with a series of installations and performances influenced by his surroundings on the Lower East Side.Read More
Moving from early environments such as The Street (1960), The Store (1961), and Bedroom Ensemble (1963), Oldenburg then developed a series of soft sculptures, created with the participation with his first wife Patty Mucha. These took as subjects ordinary, everyday objects, often enlarged, as did a series of fantastic proposals for civic monuments. His accumulation of studio miscellany eventually took form as the Mouse Museum and Ray Gun Wing (1965–77), which pioneered collection and display as forms of art.
In 1977, Oldenburg married curator and art historian Coosje van Bruggen, with whom he created over forty large-scale public projects as well as smaller-scale outdoor sculptures and indoor installations. Van Bruggen was born in Groningen, Netherlands, in 1942. She received a Doctorandus degree in Art History from the Rijksuniversiteit in Groningen and was curator at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam from 1967 to 1971. In addition to other curatorial and lecturing positions, van Bruggen is the author of many articles and books including monographs on Bruce Nauman, Hanne Darboven, John Baldessari, and Claes Oldenburg.