‘Spoonbridge and Cherry’ co-artist dies

[anvplayer video=”5122860″ station=”998122″]

One of the artists who created the iconic “Spoonbridge and Cherry” sculpture in Minneapolis has died.

Pop artist Claes Oldenburg died Monday morning in Manhattan, according to his daughter, Maartje Oldenburg. He was 93.

Photo credit: Gene Pittman, Walker Art Center

The Swedish-born artist was known for turning mundane objects into outsized sculptures, including a 45-foot steel clothespin in Philadelphia and a 100-foot lattice-work steel baseball bat in Chicago.

In 1985, the Walker Art Center commissioned Oldenburg and his wife, Coosje van Bruggen, to make something for the new Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. They came up with “Spoonbridge and Cherry,” which was finished and installed in 1988.

Artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen during the installation of Spoonbridge and Cherry in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, May 1988. Photo courtesy Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.

“From the minute it was installed, it’s just become this iconic fixture,” Siri Engberg, senior curator of visual arts with the Walker Art Center, said.

Engberg knew Oldenburg for more than 30 years and says while the art center has more than 350 works of art from Oldenburg, Spoonbridge and Cherry held a special place in his heart.

“He loved that this piece has really risen to that level, kind of transcended the idea of just being a sculpture in a public park – it’s something much more than that,” Engberg added.

Earlier this year, the sculpture was taken to New York and repainted. It’s not the only work of art the Walker Art Center has of Oldenburg – it has more than 350 works including other larger than life collaborations with Bruggen.

“It’s not something you’d expect to see, and that was really what really drove his art,” Engberg said, adding about Oldenburg’s philosophy: “’What can I do that’s unexpected, that will make people stop [and] think about something differently, view something a little more differently.’ And that was the way he operated all the time.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.