SOFT SCULPTURE SURVEY / by Britt Howard

Claes Oldenburg's Floor Burger, created in collaboration with Patty Mucha, 1962

Claes Oldenburg's Floor Burger, created in collaboration with Patty Mucha, 1962

When you think of PGF, you probably conjure images of billowy dresses, jumpsuits, and other lovingly off-kilter clothing. We'd like to introduce you to a lesser-known aspect of PGF, the Art Department. The Art Dept. is where we make wild soft sculptures and goods, like a giant inflatable lung for the American Cancer Association, or the seven foot tall baby blue mesh t-shirt hanging above our sewing stations originally made for Big Shirt, a pop up at Nationale.

We're excited to start sharing our soft sculpture inspirations, as well as in-house projects on the blog. Up first is Claes Oldenburg's seminal oversized fabric Floor Burger. Oldenburg and his then wife, Patty Mucha, created Floor Burger along with Floor Cake and Floor Cone for Oldenburg's 1962 show at Green Gallery in New York. These large, humorous renditions of classic American fare evolved from Oldenburg's earlier series of everyday objects and food fashioned to scale out of plaster (check out The Store). Looking to achieve the monumental scale inspired by American car showrooms, Oldenburg enlisted Mucha, a practiced sewer, to make soft sculptures from large pieces of canvas. To ensure that the sculptures weren't too heavy, they stuffed them with foam and cardboard ice cream cartoons. Floor Burger now lives in Toronto, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, where their conservator Sherry Phillips described the Gallery's conservation efforts: "We used archival images of the piece for comparison, and gently pushed and pulled the stuffing to create a better-defined 'burger' shape." Take a look at the AGO's extensive notes on the conversation of Floor Burger HERE