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studio view of objects displayed
Courtesy Walker Art Center
studio view of objects displayed Image Rights
Image Rights
studio view of objects displayed
Courtesy Walker Art Center
© Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen


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London Knees 1966
box 7-½ × 17 × 12-¼ inches
offset lithograph on paper, linen–covered suitcase, polyurethane on cast latex, acrylic
Not on view

Object Details

Mixed Media (Multiples)
Accession Number
in pencil on .8 BC “74/120 Oldenburg”
Physical Description
A small linen covered suitcase containing a pair of mannequin like legs (mid-shin to mid-thigh) and images showing the legs in different landscapes, configurations, and other objects of similar form.
Edition Alecto, Knees fabricated by Models (London) Ltd. coated by Badfields Radiation Research Ltd. Surrey
Credit Line
McKnight Acquisition Fund, 1999

object label Claes Oldenburg, London Knees 1966 (1968) Walker Art Center, 1999

I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit on its ass in a museum.–Claes Oldenburg, 1961

An American Pop artist who with his wife, Coosje van Bruggen, created the fountain-sculpture Spoonbridge and Cherry in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Claes Oldenburg first proposed London Knees as a “colossal monument” for the city of London. He has spoken of monuments as “objects from contemporary life that seemed to sum up and concentrate the ingredients of a specific time and place … enlarged and inserted into a site in the city.” He conceived of London Knees as a sculptural reference to a number of influences that he thought characterized London in the 1960s: structures with columns and turrets, antismoking ads showing piles of cigarette butts, and the introduction of the miniskirt which, Oldenburg observed, accentuated “the architectural and fetishistic functions of knees” when paired with the “go-go” boots of the era.

As is the case with many of Oldenburg ’s smaller sculptures, London Knees is a multiple: a three-dimensional object made in a limited edition. In seeking out the most desirable, yet typical, pair of legs to use as his model, the artist found a mannequin and sawed out the knees, only to discover that one of them seemed too “relaxed.” He then had the knee he preferred cast in mirror image to form a life-sized pair.

Walker solo exhibitions: Oldenburg: Six Themes, 1975; Claes Oldenburg: In the Studio, 1992­1993

Label text for Claes Oldenburg, London Knees 1966 (1968), from the exhibition Art in Our Time: 1950 to the Present, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, September 5, 1999 to September 2, 2001.

Copyright 1999 Walker Art Center