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CLAES OLDENBURG (B. 1929)
CLAES OLDENBURG (B. 1929)

Profile Airflow -- Test Mold, Front End

Details
CLAES OLDENBURG (B. 1929)
Profile Airflow -- Test Mold, Front End
cast-polyurethane relief over screenprint on Plexiglas, 1968-1972, with the artist's incised initials, numbered 'PP II' (a printer's proof, the edition was 50), published by Gemini G.E.L., Los Angeles, with their copyright information printed on the reverse of the frame, in generally good condition, in the original welded aluminum frame
Overall: 18 7/8 x 16 x 4 in. (480 x 406 x 102 mm.)
Literature
Axsom & Platzker 99; Gemini 420

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Lindsay Griffith
Lindsay Griffith Head of Department

Lot Essay

The Chrysler Airflow--introduced at the 1934 World's Fair in Chicago--was a modern design sensation, both in innovation and in style. The exterior modeling of the car was designed inside a wind tunnel under the consultation of Orville Wright, in an effort to minimize the impeding effects of wind resistance. Despite executing this vision, the car ultimately failed to sell and its progressive design was rejected by critics and consumers. Chrysler almost immediately took production in a radically different direction, sacrificing the very design which made the Airflow stand out so distinctly.
In 1966 Oldenburg was invited to Detroit to visit a real-life version of the aerodynamic marvel, albeit a later, compromised version of the original 1934 model. Oldenburg's enthusiasm and devotion for the Chrysler Airflow bordered on fanaticism, as he embarked on an ambitious project of documenting and understanding the production and design of the car.
Ultimately Oldenburg's investigation led him to construct the present multiple in collaboration with Kenneth Tyler of Gemini G.E.L., a partnership not unlike Chrysler's development of the Airflow in which visionary design was realized through technical innovation. In creating Profile Airflow, Oldenburg envisioned several attributes that he challenged Tyler to fulfill: "that it be clear in color, transparent like a swimming pool but of a consistency like flesh, and, that these conditions be permanent."

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