Coose van Bruggen
Curator, sculptor, collaborator, art historian and spouse of Claes Oldenberg, Coose van Bruggen died last weekend at the age of 66 after a bout with breast cancer. Here’s the Los Angeles Times‘s obit:
Born in Groningen, the Netherlands, on June 6, 1942, and educated there, Van Bruggen got her professional start as a curator at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Enschede. Her first work with Oldenburg came in 1976, when she helped him install his 41-foot “Trowel I” on the grounds of the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo. [ . . . ]
The Swedish-born American sculptor and draftsman — who emerged in New York with the Pop movement and became known for his light touch — and his scholarly Dutch associate might have appeared to be an unlikely match. But their relationship grew into what Oldenburg called “a unity of opposites,” and they were married in 1977. [ . . . ]
Van Bruggen was the author of scholarly books and essays on the work of major contemporary artists including John Baldessari, Bruce Nauman and Gerhard Richter. She also wrote a monograph on architect Frank O. Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. But she is best known for collaborations with Oldenburg, which have placed giant trowels, shuttlecocks, bowling pins and typewriter erasers on parklands, civic squares and museum grounds in Europe, Asia and the United States. Cologne, Germany, has its upside-down ice cream cone; San Francisco, its bow and arrow; Denver, its dustpan and broom.
And here is Richard Lacayo from Time on the collaborators and their work:
At the time Oldenburg was just beginning his transition from his oversize soft sculptures of the 60s to monumental fabricated steel pieces that could survive outside. Oldenburg’s work had drawn on the Surrealist idea — Magritte used it all the time — that a change in the scale of an object gave it a strange power. At first he applied that insight to most ordinary items of American life, especially humble edibles, all those cheeseburgers and ice cream cones and pillowy wedges of pie, made even more dream like because they were rendered in soft materials, with their inevitable hint of the pliancy of the human body, and splattered with mock-Abstract Expressionist drizzles of paint.
When he met Van Bruggen, Oldenburg was working on one of the first big outdoor steel versions of his basic idea, in this case a giant gardening tool called Trowel 1. In its original version, which Oldenburg installed at an outdoor sculpture show in the Netherlands in 1971, the piece was a metallic silver gray. Van Bruggen thought the gray made it look too much like a serving utensil. She persuaded Oldenburg to paint it the blue of Dutch workmen’s overalls. In 1976 a blue version was unveiled in the sculpture garden of the Kroller-Muller Museum in Otterloo — just pretend I typed in a couple of umlauts there over the “o” and “u” in Kroller-Muller — and the Oldenburg-Van Bruggen team was born. One year later they were married.
Together Oldenburg and Van Bruggen produced three decades of monumental sculpture that Van Bruggen would call The Large-Scale Projects. Basically, they monumentalized Pop, an idea we’re all familiar with now. We’re so familiar with it — it goes without saying that Jeff Koons’ shiny steel balloon dogs and heart pendants are just a riff on the Oldenburg/van Bruggen brand — that it’s hard to remember that the early works had a really bracing brilliance to them. The great Batcolumn in Chicago, from 1977, is both a very funny parody of monumental sculpture — it’s a giant baseball bat — and a brilliantly plausible quasi-Minimalist steel abstraction.
Bloomberg reports on the death of French movie producer and acclaimed collector:
Berri, 74, was one of France’s best-known art collectors. His collection contained works by Pablo Picasso, Fernand Leger, Salvador Dali and Alberto Giacometti, as well as living artists such as Richard Serra and Richard Prince. He opened an art gallery in Paris last year, the Espace Claude Berri, which showed works by living artists he owned and liked.
The 1986 movies “Jean de Florette” and “Manon of the Spring,” which he scripted and directed, were among his biggest hits. He produced more than 50 films.