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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 Cor-Ten 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]

ArtistClaes Oldenburg
TypeWeathering Steel
Dimensions14 m × 3.73 m × 1.37 m (45 ft × 12 ft 3 in × 4 ft 6 in)
Coordinates39°57′09″N 75°09′56″W / 39.9524°N 75.1656°W / 39.9524; -75.1656[1]

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

There are two small-scale models of the sculpture. The first normally stays in the Oldenburg gallery at the Denver Art Museum. Clothespin - 4 Foot Version, completed in 1974, is part of the exhibition Claes Oldenburg with Coosje van Bruggen: Drawings, which runs Oct. 7, 2018–Jan. 6, 2019. [10] [11] The second, a 10 foot version of Clothespin, completed in 1975, is located at The Art Institute of Chicago. It is in their Contemporary Art department; however, it is currently off view. [12]

See alsoEdit


  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.
  10. ^ "November 2018: Dior: From Paris to the World Opens, The Incubation Effect Installed, Night at the Museum, Thanksgiving Break, Rembrandt: Painter as Printmaker, Print Studio and Other Highlights". Denver Art Museum. Retrieved 2018-12-17.
  11. ^ "Claes Oldenburg with Coosje van Bruggen: Drawings". Denver Art Museum. Retrieved 2018-12-17. Clothespin - 4 Foot Version is the sixth item in the slideshow at the top of the page.
  12. ^ "Clothespin". The Art Institute of Chicago. Retrieved 2018-12-17.

External linksEdit