American, born Sweden, 1929
Typewriter Eraser, 1976 Stainless steel, ferrocement, and aluminum on steel base, 89 x 90 x 63 in. (226.1 x 228.6 x 160 cm.)
Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, Dallas, Texas
In his Typewriter Eraser, Oldenburg characteristically mixes the everyday, the absurd, and the monumental. He has said that this work was the result of "thinking about what might fall out of an office building." By choosing this commonplace subject and rendering it on a large scale, Oldenburg creates an ironic comment on the grand tradition of the sculptural monument. At this size, the office tool also takes on human-like qualities, the bristles of the eraser resembling long hair blowing behind a swift runner. History has since played its own joke on the artist; today computers have made typewriters virtually obsolete and the typewriter eraser is more of a historical artifact than an everyday object, no longer recognizable to many viewers.