Tiny Oldenburg Store Objects, Bacon & Butter

Lot 171: Sturtevant, Oldenburg Store Objects, Bacon & Pat of Butter, 1967, being sold at Swann

I lost track of the Schwartzes selling Sturtevant’s Oldenburg Store Object, Pie Case amidst the Pompon hype. It was one of the most prominent objects from Sturtevant’s April-til-June 1967 repetition of Oldenburg’s The Store, and it was being sold by some of the most important collectors of Sturtevant’s work. [Eugene organized the 1986 Sturtevant comeback show at White Columns that brought her work into the context of the appropriationist Pictures Generation.

Sturtevant, Oldenburg Store Object, Pie Case, 1967, from the Barbara and Eugene Schwartz Collection, sold at Sotheby’s 19 May 2023

Virginia Dwan took the photo of the pie case at The Store of Claes Oldenburg, center, with an exceptionally tanned Sturtevant at right. With so much work to make, when did have time to tan? [One clue might be in front of her, that like Oldenburg, she was making product for The Store in the store.]

Sturtevant and unidentified beatnik at The Store of Claes Oldenburg, 1967, photo by Virginia Dwan, as ganked from Bruce Hainley’s 2012 artforum article on Sturtevant’s performances, including repeating an Yvonne Rainer work in May 1967, while The Store was going. VERY busy!

Last year at his outpost in the Marais, Thaddeus Ropac showed 14 Oldenburg Store objects together, the most I’ve seen in a long while. The show ran from 11 April to 22 June, a repeat of the original.

installation view of “Dialectic of Distance: Sturtevant Oldenburg Store” at Thaddeus Ropac Paris, 2022, showing a flyer for The Store of Claes Oldenburg and Oldenburg Store Object, ? Candy Rack?, 1967. image: ropac.net
screencap of Ropac‘s video preview, showing the installation of Oldenburg Store candy bars which suddenly feel very bacon-shaped.

The candy bar display case is one of the most beautiful objects of Sturtevant’s I’ve ever seen, and it immediately came to mind when I saw the Oldenburg Store strip of bacon being sold at Swann’s next week from the estate of Norman Dolph. [Dolph was a young record exec who DJ’d at The Factory, and who produced The Velvet Underground’s first recording in 1966 in exchange for a Warhol. It’s amazing how there are no images of him at the time, maybe because he was taking the pics. Is that him in the Dwan photo above?]

Screencap of Sturtevant’s Oldenburg Store Object, Egg in a Pan? I don’t know the actual titles, I’m just guessing, from the 2022 Ropac Paris exhibit

Anyway, the Dolph sale includes a pat of painted plaster butter in a dish, which is like a tiny echo of the painted plaster egg in a frying pan from the Ropac show. It may be the tiniest Oldenburg Store object ever.

Bacon and Eggs, of course, is also the subject of the Oldenburg Store Object with the highest profile, and the highest churn. This 54 x 34 inch wall filler has been sold three times (well, it’s been put up for sale three times, the last in 2015. Phillips’ YouTube video of it is still up, even if the lot itself was withdrawn. Obviously $400-600k was too aggressive an estimate then, but squarely in Sturtevant’s range now. Maybe Yoshii Gallery, which showed Oldenburg Store Object, Bacon and Egg in 2020, can help you bring it home.)

Iconically, this Bacon and Egg was in Sturtevant’s 1987 show at Daniel Weinberg in LA, and it was originally purchased by William Hokin, of the Chicago Hokins, whose parents donated Rauschenberg’s Lincoln to the Art Institute of Chicago. Hokin sold it at Christie’s in 1995 for $3,450, which is less than the estimate for the pocket-sized strip of bacon that prompted this post.

8 June 2023, Lot 171: Sturtevant, Oldenburg Store Objects, Bacon and Pat of Butter, 1967, est. $4-6,000 [swanngalleries]
Dialogue of Distance: Sturtevant Oldenburg Store [ropac.net]
2012: First Position: The Early Performance Work of Sturtevant [artforum]