I got an email from Claes Oldenburg.

Posted on 21.07.2015


For anyone who hasn’t tried to contact the artist, I will tell you that the ONLY way you can get in touch with Claes Oldenburg is to send a fax to his studio. This is something I did way back in 2010 or 2011, when I was still living in Germany, and at the start of my quest to see all of Claes and Coosje’s large-scale public pieces.

It went unanswered, not shockingly.

So imagine my surprise when I woke up one morning last week to an email from Claes himself, thanking me for visiting (and attempting to visit) all of their works.

there's still hope: 2 of these have not been bought yet!

there’s still hope: 2 of ‘Architect’s Handkerchief’ haven’t been bought yet!

I’m not going to copy the email here, but he sent me a very detailed message, and gave me the full list of all of the outdoor projects in existence, which were NOT on my Claes and Coosje World Tour (link in top nav) page.

Back in maybe 2010, my friend Kristi told me about 2 of their works, which were NOT on the list on their website, that she had seen in Philadelphia. This was shocking, since at the time, I thought that list was the full list.

As it turns out, Kristi was quite correct in her idea that there must be MORE of these than we knew about. The email I received included a list of 2 types of projects: a smaller ‘garden’ series, which includes the 3-Way Plug and also the Typewriter Eraser in Washington, DC. This list includes multiple copies of a few pieces, and few that are in private collections that I’ll probably never be able to see. The list also included a few other larger-scale pieces, not in the Garden series. Apparently, there are a few that are still for sale. I can hope to own one someday.

For the sake of transparency, here is the full list he gave me, which I’ll be adding to the page, and trying to visit:

Garden Scale:

Typewriter Eraser, Scale X: DC, Seattle, Las Vegas, and Connecticut

Giant 3-Way plug, scale A: Philadelphia, St. Louis and Oberlin College, Ohio

Blueberry Pie a la Mode, Flying: cancer center in Oxford, England, and Claes’s daughter, Maartje (probably impossible)

Valentine Perfume: privately owned, Texas (probably impossible)

Architect’s Handkerchief: the Samsung collection in South Korea, the Kemper Museum in Kansas City, on the grounds of a home in Rye, NY

Shuttlecock/Blueberry Pies, I and II: privately owned, Wilmette, Illinois (probably impossible)

Corridor Pin: New Orleans Museum of Art, DeYoung Museum in San Francisco, 2 more in private collections

Plantoir: Foundation Serralves: Porto, Portugal, Montecito, CA, Des Moines, IA, and the Frederick Meijer Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, MI


Larger works:

Apple Core: Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Golf Typhoon: courtyard of the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT

Balzac/Petanque: High Museum, Atlanta GA

Inverted Q – Pink: Akron Art Museum Ohio, the Cantor Arts Center Stanford University, Städtisches Museum Abteiberg in Mönchengladbach, Germany, and in the Samsung collection in Seoul

Geometric Mouse, Scale X – Red: Houston Public Library Houston, Texas.

Geometric Mouse – Scale A – Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Moderna Museet in Stockholm, MoMA in New York, the Empire State collection in Albany, Meadows Museum in Dallas, and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C.


I will do my best to visit as many of these as I can, along with the ones already listed on the page. It appears that now I have THREE reasons to visit Seoul, rather than the original one.

He closed his email with this:
Thanks for the many performances. I’m sure the sculptures too are pleased and eager (if only they could) to dance along with you.

My life has been made.

Thank you for your email, Mr Oldenburg!

Posted in: art, goals, life, travel