Claes Oldenburg (1929-)
Muslin, plaster, chicken wire and enamel
Overall: 40 5/8 × 29 1/8 × 4 in. (103.2 × 74 × 10.2 cm)
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of Howard and Jean Lipman
Rights and Reproductions Information
© Claes Oldenburg
Braselette was one of several sculptures exhibited at Claes Oldenburg’s now-legendary environment, The Store—a space the artist opened for one month in December 1961 in a rented storefront on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Like the other objects (household goods, produce, articles of clothing) that he made and displayed for sale at The Store, Braselette is a three-dimensional, plaster-covered muslin relief of an item that Oldenburg likely saw on display in a shop window. Devoid of a body and embedded in a mass of shiny red enamel, it exemplifies the disjunctive qualities of Oldenburg’s work, or what he describes as his “rips out of reality.” In the work, Oldenburg transformed a typically soft, delicate piece of lingerie into a tactile, corporeal form, outlining its contours with slapdash applications of blue paint and punctuating its surface with what look to be accidental drips and smears—traces of the Abstract Expressionist brushwork of painters such as Jackson Pollock, whom Oldenburg greatly admired. While it refers to art of the recent past, however, Braselette also presages Oldenburg’s soft sculptures, outsized three-dimensional replicas of everyday objects that he would begin to produce the following year. As a creative enterprise, Braselette and the other objects sold at The Store represented an innovative combination of art and commerce, and the project is often cited as a milestone in the emergence of Pop art.