Art history and art’s Edward J. Olszewski explores controversy around sculptures at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in study

Edward J. Olszewski, emeritus professor and former chair of art history and art, had a study published exploring controversy around sculptures at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City.

Created by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, the sculptures feature common tools and game pieces. Their installations were delayed by political and aesthetic considerations. Olszewski identifies the artists’ choice of objects as items of daily importance, such as a trowel, garden hose, bicycle, pickaxe, hand stamp and badminton birdies. His study illustrates how the sculptors make the commonplace unique by enlarging their prototypes. Olszewski also outlines the genesis of the project using preparatory drawings and interviews with the artists. 

The study follows from Olszewski’s book on Cleveland’s FREE STAMP sculpture by the same artists. It is the latest in a dozen books by the author about master drawings, art treatises, papal tombs in the Vatican and Italian Mannerist paintings.