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Drawing from Experience

BY Kathryn O’Shea-Evans | January 14, 2019 | Feature Features

Aspen's Julie Augur curates the Denver Art Museum's latest exhibition featuring Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.
"Store Window - Yellow Shirt, Red Bow Tie," 1961

Sculptures start with an idea long before they become real life, and often that idea is executed pen to paper. Longtime Aspen local Julie Augur has curated an unmissable exhibition at the Denver Art Museum: Claes Oldenburg With Coosje van Bruggen: Drawings. “I’ve always liked Oldenburg’s work and respected it; he’s one of the great artists and great draftsmen of all time,” says Augur, the adjunct curator of drawings for DAM who moved to Aspen in 1977 after 20 years, on and off, in New York City. “Anyone who’s been involved in the art world for any length of time knows who he is,” she says.

For the uninitiated, Oldenburg and his wife, van Bruggen, who passed in 2009, were an art-world power couple whose sculptures of run-of-the-mill objects flipped banality on its head—the mammoth red cherry atop a spoon (“Spoonbridge and Cherry”) that sits outside Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center; a typewriter eraser the size of a tree (“Typewriter Eraser, Scale X”) at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.
The 39 drawings and one sculpture that Augur assembled for the DAM encapsulate works from 1961 to 2001—attendees will see everything from the 4-foot-tall bronze and stainless-steel clothespin (“Clothespin - 4 Foot Version A.P. IV”) that Oldenburg created in 1974 to the couple’s colored-pencil drawing “Study for a Sculpture in the Form of a Broom and Pan With Sweepings,” on loan from the collection of Oldenburg himself, who still lives and works in New York City.

Augur, who first visited Aspen in 1954 to learn to ski, and later worked at Strang Ranch, doesn’t have a favorite piece in the show. “I think they’re all incredible—you’re asking someone to pick their favorite child,” she says. But, for her, Oldenburg’s work is pure brilliance. “These are amazing pieces, and he’s an incredibly creative mind,” she says. “He redefined sculpture completely, and his drawings are beautiful, and there you are.” Through Jan. 6, 100 W. 14th Avenue Parkway,

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