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Claes Oldenburg, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Calico Bunny (detail), 1997. Pigment on canvas, polyester, painted wood, and metal. 13 x 10 x 6 inches (33.02 x 25.4 x 15.24 cm) each. Edition of 99. Photo credit: Aaron Igler. Claes Oldenburg, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Calico Bunny, 1997. Pigment on canvas, polyester, painted wood, and metal. 13 x 10 x 6 inches (33.02 x 25.4 x 15.24 cm) each. Edition of 99. Photo credit: Aaron Igler.
Claes Oldenburg, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Calico Bunny (detail), 1997. Pigment on canvas, polyester, painted wood, and metal. 13 x 10 x 6 inches (33.02 x 25.4 x 15.24 cm) each. Edition of 99. Photo credit: Aaron Igler.
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Claes Oldenburg, in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Calico Bunny, 1997. Pigment on canvas, polyester, painted wood, and metal. 13 x 10 x 6 inches (33.02 x 25.4 x 15.24 cm) each. Edition of 99. Photo credit: Aaron Igler.
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Claes Oldenburg

Created in 1997, Calico Bunny is reminiscent of Claes Oldenburg’s seminal soft sculpture work and “happenings” of the 1960s. For these experimental theatrical performances, Oldenburg created large objects made of fabric and filled with foam. Often mundane and familiar objects (light switches or toilets, for example), these fabric objects were exaggerated in some way to accentuate their ordinariness and their place in our consumer culture.

Calico Bunny looks like a benign child’s toy, with the subtle exception of the protruding black wooden eye, intentionally oversized compared to the scale of the bunny. The eye, which flops uneasily forward, and the slightly understuffed body, contribute to the image of this bunny as tossed aside or abandoned. The bunnies are made from a classic calico pattern, silkscreen printed on canvas, and designed based on a simple bunny cookie cutter. They are meant to be viewed individually, in small groups, or as one large mass of proliferating bunnies.

Oldenburg created Calico Bunny as a limited edition multiple of 99 bunnies in red, yellow, and blue—33 of each colorway. They were originally made to benefit Doctors of the World/Médecins du Monde, an international not-for-profit organization that provides medical support to developing nations or countries in crisis.

Bio
American, born Sweden 1929, lives in New York City
Claes Oldenburg was born in Stockholm, Sweden, the son of a diplomat. After moving to different cities in Norway and the United States, his family settled in Chicago in 1936. Oldenburg completed his undergraduate degree at Yale University in 1950 before returning to Chicago, where he took classes at the Art Institute. He became an American citizen in 1953. Often considered the quintessential American artist, Oldenburg championed issues of “high” versus “low” in his art, blurring the line completely with The Store, a shop he opened in 1961 and filled with plaster and muslin sculptures of consumer goods—clothing, food, and domestic objects. His large-scale public sculptural works are known throughout the world, including Clothespin, a 45-foot stainless steel sculpture erected in Philadelphia’s Centre Square Plaza in 1976. Oldenburg’s work has been the subject of numerous one-person exhibitions, including major retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1969), the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (1995), and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (1995).