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Giant Soft Ketchup Bottle with Ketchup, 1966-67

Claes Oldenburg

American, 1929-
Painted canvas filled with polyurethane foam
100 x 52 x 40 in. (254.0 x 132.1 x 101.6 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Museum Purchase with funds granted by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pasadena Art Alliance
© 2008 Claes Oldenburg

Not on view

Oldenburg has based his career on quoting elements from consumer culture, whether through handmade replicas of mass-produced items or through monumental sculptures. Clearly he was taking aim at common objects when he stated, “My intention is to make an everyday object that eludes definition.”

Giant Soft Ketchup Bottle with Ketchup is an Oldenburg fabric sculpture that takes a mundane household item and re-creates it in malleable form. The fabric’s folds reveal the tactile and sensuous side of a normally cold glass bottle.

Not only does Oldenburg disorient the viewer with a larger-than-life ketchup bottle, but he also makes a mess with it. Uncapped and turned upside down, Giant Soft Ketchup Bottle with Ketchup loses its contents onto the floor in a soft mass.

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