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~Claes Oldenburg’s The Store – 1961

In the winter of 1961, Oldenburg circumvented the practice of selling art through a gallery by opening a storefront on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and selling his work there. Among the unorthodox, eclectic offerings were sculptures of undergarments and slices of blueberry pie and other pastries made out of painted plaster. To advertise this bold endeavor, Oldenburg created business cards and stationery as well as posters such as the one on view here. Modeled after a poster the artist saw in a Puerto Rican neighborhood of New York, it retains a few Spanish words. A milestone of Pop art, The Store heralded Oldenburg’s interest in the slippery line between art and commodity and the role of the artist in self-promotion.

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