Clothespin (Oldenburg)

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Artist Claes Oldenburg
Year 1976
Type Weathering Steel
Dimensions 14 m × 3.73 m × 1.37 m (45 ft × 12 ft 3 in × 4 ft 6 in)
Location Philadelphia
Coordinates 39°57′09″N 75°09′56″W / 39.9524°N 75.1656°W / 39.9524; -75.1656[1]
Owner private[2]

Clothespin is a weathering steel sculpture, by Claes Oldenburg. It is located at Centre Square, 1500 Market Street, Philadelphia.[3] It is designed to appear as a large black clothespin. Oldenburg is noted for his attempts to democratize art, and the location of Clothespin, above SEPTA's City Hall subway station, allows thousands of viewers to view it on a daily basis. [4] It was dedicated June 25, 1976.[5] Made of Corten steel, Clothespin is praised by art critics for its velvety texture and weathered, warm reddish-brown color. [6] The silvery steel "spring" part the two textured work resembles the numerals "76", apt for the United States Bicentennial year.[7] Tying in Philadelphia's colonial heritage with its difficult present, Clothespin addresses the city's civic issues and attempts to close the gap between income levels within the city through its universally recognized form.[8] The design has been likened to the "embracing couple" in Constantin Brâncuși's sculpture The Kiss in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.[9]

It was commissioned in May 1974, by developer Jack Wolgin, as part of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority's one percent for art program.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Giant Clothespin - Philadelphia, PA"
  2. ^ Holcomb, Henry J. (September 22, 2003). "Downtown Philadelphia Office Complex May Get $20 Million Makeover". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Bach, Penny Balkin. Public Art in Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 1992. 241. Print.
  5. ^ "Clothespin, (sculpture)". Save Outdoor Sculpture, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia survey. 1993. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
  6. ^ Bach, Penny Balkin. Public Art in Philadelphia. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 1992. 241. Print.
  7. ^ "Oldenburg Tops Off Philadelphia's Bicentennial with a '76 Clothespin". People. 1976-05-24. Archived from the original on 2008-12-02. Explains the artist: 'Its steel spring forms the figure 76.'
  8. ^ Hunter, Becky H. "Philadelphia Social Art." Artists Reclaim the Commons: New Works-new Territories-new Publics. Ed. Glenn Harper and Twylene Moyer. Hamilton, NJ: ISC, 2013. 268. Print.
  9. ^ a b "Claes Oldenburg's Other Works in Philadelphia". Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Retrieved 2013-11-05. The joined parts, bound by two springs, recalled the embracing couple in Brancusi's sculpture The Kiss in the museum's collection.

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