Bottle of notes
Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s monumental sculpture Bottle of Notes, which soars nearly 35 feet above the center of Middlesbrough, tilted at an angle almost as startling as the Tower of Pisa, is the first public sculpture in the United Kingdom by these two internationally renowned artists.
This book, which contains over sixty color illustrations of Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s preparatory sketches and models, and photographs of the finished sculpture in situ, examines the project from its conception to its final installation some seven years later. The text by Richard Cork, Art Critic at The Times, explores the inspiration behind the Bottle of Notes, and looks at the precedents to the Bottle in Oldenburg’s work, in particular his large-scale sculptures. The final part of the book documents the making of the sculpture.
Bottle of Notes was commissioned by Middlesbrough Borough Council, and the ingredient of the site which most captured Oldenburg’s imagination was the history of Captain Cook, born in Middlesbrough. The city again provided the inspiration for the medium, the tempered steel used in the sculpture echoing Middlesbrough’s industrial heritage and continuing the legacy of the town’s Ironmasters.
This book offers a fascinating survey of the evolution of Oldenburg and van Bruggen’s first large-scale sculpture in England, and also explores the role of public sculpture in modern urban life in an age where the siting and function of public art have become increasingly controversial.