Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 7:30pm
Object Worshipping: Notes on Claes Oldenburg’s Films, or the Ballad of the Turning Woman

155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn

A lecture by Branden W. Joseph

In 1969, armed with a recently-purchased 8mm movie camera, celebrated pop artist Claes Oldenburg shot a series of short films, most notably the prosaically (and provisionally) entitled Statue of Turning Woman Being Installed in Front of Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles. Likely screened publicly only once (if at all) in the context of the artist’s 1969 Museum of Modern Art retrospective, Oldenburg’s thirteen-minute movie nonetheless represents a certain culmination to the little-known and little-investigated cinematic endeavors that he pursued throughout the decade. Drawing upon unpublished research from Oldenburg’s studio archives, this illustrated lecture attempts to flesh out Oldenburg’s cinematic interests and pursuits—including collaborations and interactions with filmmakers such as Stan Brakhage, Jack Smith, Robert Breer, Ron Rice, John Jones, and George Manupelli—as they relate to his more well-known happenings, pop sculptures, and proposals for fantastic monuments (many of which will be on view in Claes Oldenburg: The Street and the Store, opening at MoMA on April 14). Only slightly better-known than Oldenburg’s interest in film is the variety of sexually suggestive writings, drawings, and collages he produced in the mid-sixties, works that relate integrally to the production and significance of Turning Woman. When placed back into its proper context, Oldenburg’s modest Turning Woman film emerges as a pivotal work within the development and transformation of his aesthetic at the turn of the decade. A screening of Turning Woman (on digital transfer), arranged by permission of the artist, will accompany the lecture.

Branden W. Joseph is the Frank Gallipoli Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at Columbia University and author of books on Tony Conrad (Zone, 2008), Anthony McCall (Steidl, 2005), and Robert Rauschenberg (MIT, 2003). His most recent book, The Roh and the Cooked: Tony Conrad and Beverly Grant in Europe (August Verlag, 2012) derives from a lecture originally delivered at Light Industry in 2009.


Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.