Artists Contemporary art Conservation USA

Oldenburg's giant rubber stamp gets a facelift

Artist advises on restoration of 8m-high sculpture in Cleveland's Willard Park

Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen's Free Stamp, 1991

A gigantic rubber stamp by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen is receiving some much needed care. The City of Cleveland and the Sculpture Center have employed the art conservation centre ICA Cleveland to restore Free Stamp, 1991, an 8m-high sculpture in Willard Park. Oldenburg has advised on the restoration, and a documentary about the artists and the work is planned.

The painted steel and aluminium piece was commissioned in 1982 by Standard Oil of Ohio for its new headquarters in Cleveland’s city centre, but the commission was cancelled when British Petroleum acquired the US company. Following protests, work on the sculpture resumed, and the park was selected as the new site. The change in location meant that the work, which was originally planned to be installed upright, could be placed on its side.

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