Wednesday, March 18, 2015


On a small corner plaza across from City Hall, and amid soaring high rises, "Clothspin" by Claes Oldenburg sweeps upward from the busy streets.

The stylized object brings different reactions from viewers, such as the passerby who commented soon after its installation that "Center Square needs some humor."


While flying over Chicago, Oldenburg noticed a "similarity" between the building below and a clothespin he was playing with. Driving near center city a couple of days ago, I was struck by the affinity in form between the sculpture and the modern skyscrapers.

While clothespin is apparently an everyday item, it is also suggestive of two bodies embracing, and Oldenburg himself compared the sculpture to Constantin Brancusi's "The Kiss" in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The Kiss - Constantin Brancusi

Clothespin - detail
The great thing about this public art is that it is available to everyone, and can bring wide and varied reactions - positive, negative, humorous, imaginative, delight, scorn, pleasure, outrage.

For example, across the street from Clothespin is "The Triune" (see post Triune post in February). Apparently, a lot of people compare it to a pretzel. I see playing dolphins, or a diving whale ... sometimes. Other times it strikes me as an allegory juxaposing the complexity of city bureaucracy (ornate City Hall) with the simple sweeping lines always in motion ....

The Triune


  1. I love the juxtaposition of the Kiss with the clothes pin!

  2. I come to this place every now and then. The place is really nice, the crowd is full of regulars, and the food and drink specials are pretty good! The staff at event venues Seattle is great and really gets to know your name. Totally worth your time on any night for good food and drink.