Wednesday, May 29, 2013


"Mouse Museum and Ray Gun Wing" seen from above

There may be no greater purveyor of "I SEE PENIS" than American Pop Art heavyweight Claes Oldenburg-- the very idea of "soft sculpture" itself illustrates the metaphor better than anything else perhaps.  Some of his more famous phallic masterpieces include "Lipstick" from 1972 and "Soft Drainpipe, Red (Hot) Version" from 1967, at the National Gallery in Washington, DC.   If you're lucky enough to travel to NYC this summer, be sure to check out "The Street and The Store" as well as "Mouse Museum/Ray Gun Wing" on view at MoMA until August 5th.

Along with Oldenburg's early cardboard work, "The Mouse Museum" (itself the shape of a giant penis) was by far my favorite. . . . What little boy doesn't like to play with his ray gun?  All should easily identify.  Oldenburg built "Mouse Museum" for Documenta 5, in 1972.  Enter the small structure to find a miniature museum of sorts-- original sculptures placed beside a unique and odd assortment of quotidian treasures Oldenburg personally collected himself.  While you may have to stand in line a few brief minutes (beats 4 hours for the "Rain Room"!), it's well worth the wait, especially if you enjoy thrifting like me. . . . Plus, there are penises around every corner:

No, not "Raw Gun", "Ray Gun"!

Part of the ray gun collection inside the "Ray Gun Wing"

One of my favorites, "Mug" (1960) from "The Street and The Store"  

"Street Head III (Profile with Hat)" (1960), also from "The Street and The Store" 

"Lipstick" (1972), a study for a sculpture

"Soft Drainpipe, Red (Hot) Version", 1976


  1. There are these amazing Hannah Wilke Ray Gun photographs...she dated Claus for a while. I didn't know of his gun series, but there s definitely a relationship in the works. It does make one wonder. Thanks for posting.

  2. Paul F in LondonMay 30, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    Rain Room's not worth the wait Colby - sat it out in London and was very disappointed...