Artist known for creating ‘Inverted Q’ at Akron Art Museum dies

Although the sculptor of the “inverted Q”“, the popular hot pink artwork from the Akron Art Museum, has passed away, leaving its artistic touch through several rooms in northeast Ohio.

Claes Oldenburg was born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1929 and grew up in Chicago, died on Monday. In addition to the “inverted Q”, Oldenburg has several other works which can be seen at the Akron Museum of Art – some related to his locally well-known piece.

“Oldenburg is best known for his whimsical works of public sculpture, often comically oversized,” Akron Art Museum officials said in a Facebook post Monday. “We are honored to have many of his works in our collection, including the museum’s beloved and iconic ‘Inverted Q’ that sits in our lobby. Our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends as well as to art lovers around the world.”

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In addition to the “inverted Q”, Oldenburg is known locally for the “Free stamp“, which can be seen in Willard Park in Cleveland.

Sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen

“It is a privilege to have Claes Oldenburg’s inverted Q in the collection of the Akron Art Museum,” said Jeff Katzin, Associate Curator of the Akron Art Museum. from Akron’s rubber industry, Oldenburg has created something big, bold, original and fun. We try to incorporate these qualities into everything we do, so it’s only fitting that the Q has become an icon of the Museum. »

Oldenburg was married to sculptor and art historian Coosje van Bruggen, according to information from the Akron Museum of Art. They married in 1977 and the two frequently collaborated over the next 32 years until his death in 2009.

In 1972, Mary and Louis Myers commissioned Claes Oldenburg to create a sculpture for a park adjoining the library in downtown Akron, according to museum records. Oldenburg planned to cast the sculpture in rubber, reflecting Akron’s iconic industry.

However, the technology available at the time did not allow such a massive shape to be cast in rubber. Instead, in 1976, Oldenburg had the inverted Q cast in concrete. At that time, a different sculpture of George Sugarman had been installed in the park. Sugarman’s work is now at the Fairlawn-Bath branch of the library. The Myers purchased the first “Inverted Q” from the edition and donated it to the Akron Museum of Art.

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