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Collection > Claes Oldenburg >

Pepsi-Cola Sign

1961

  • Medium

    Muslin soaked in plaster over wire frame, painted with enamel

  • Dimensions

    60 x 48 x 7 1/2 in. (152.4 x 121.92 x 19.05 cm)

  • Accession number

    85.21

  • Object label

    ​On December 1, 1961, Claes Oldenburg’s The Store opened for business in New York’s Lower East Side neighborhood. During a two-month run, Oldenburg used the back half of a rented storefront space to create the objects that he put on sale in the front half, thereby short-circuiting the studio and the art gallery. Hung on the walls, arrayed in vitrines, and mounted on display stands, Oldenburg’s plaster objects mimicked the goods sold in local secondhand and discount stores—primarily clothing and foodstuffs, but also advertising paraphernalia, as in Pepsi-Cola Sign. According to Oldenburg, The Store was his response to the possibility that “art is doomed to be bourgeois,” or materialistic. The intensified, overwrought qualities of Pepsi-Cola Sign—its lumpy shape, garish hues, feverish drips of paint, and distorted scale—manifest the viselike grip that consumer culture has on the distribution and consumption of art under capitalism.