Added to the Claes and Coosje World Tour page: Washington, DC

Posted on 26.05.2013

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DSCN7363It’s hard to believe that this is the sculpture I’ve lived closest to for most of my life, and I only just got to see it today! Granted, I didn’t start this project until I moved to Germany, but still: there were a few I walked past without even noticing before trying to track my visits, and I imagine this must have been one of them, since I’ve been to the National Gallery more times than I can remember. This marks #20 in my world tour, and there are only 44 on my list. I am almost halfway done, and if all goes as planned, I WILL be halfway done by the end of next month;)

I’ve seen a lot of the sculptures since Japan, and today I realized that the sculpture I was seeing, Typewriter Eraser, Scale X, is NOT on the public works list on the Claes and Coosje site. This is the case with the Three-Way Plug in Philadelphia, as well, along with a few others that I have seen or plan to see. These are in ‘private’ spaces, like sculpture gardens in art museums or on private property, but end up being free to view and somewhat in the open. They might not belong on my public works list, but they are still important to see and I’m going to make sure to see them, anyway. I was thinking about this today because I just went to see the MOMA show on Claes’s work in the 60’s. There was a literal TON of his work there, but only a few of the larger, earlier sculptures that led to the ones I’m currently traveling to see.

I was a bit upset when I saw Bicyclette in Paris. I had always thought it would be my favorite, as it was the first one I saw and fell in love with in art school. And while I DID totally love it when I got to see it in person, I have to say that I’m not sure it’s my favorite that I’ll see, although I do really love it and the sheer size of that one. I think so far my favorite has been the Flying Pins (also rather large), or the Dropped Ice Cream Cone, which will always make me laugh.

One of the things I noticed a few months ago, whether it was at Pool Balls or Bicyclette, was exactly HOW much trouble a piece  is in for when the artist fully gives it over to the public. The Binoculars were in a sad state of disrepair when we saw them, but they were in front of a building that had been vacant for years and was undergoing renovations. But these guys were just out in the public, a part of the furniture, and the locals had done their best to tag the living hell out of them. I noticed today that the Typewriter Eraser has no such damage, save for a few spots of bird shit. There was no ‘no touching’ sign, just a ‘no climbing’ sign. It is clear that being a part of an art museum, even when outside in the sculpture garden, is a great way for the works to remain in good condition. I’m not sure which Claes and Coosje prefer, but if it were my work, I know I’d be torn between giving the work to the public or keeping it protected. I think it does more for the public when it is out in the open and on display every day, but if it were me, I might want to add an upkeep clause to all contracts. And maybe there is one for all of the public pieces. I’d love to know if there is.

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Posted in: art