Claes Oldenburg, Washes, 1965
Claes Oldenburg, Washes, 1965

Télécharger : Script et déroulé de Washes par Claes Oldenburg in The Tulane Drama Review Vol 10, N°2, Winter 1965 (pdf)
Télécharger : Fais-moi des choses aquatiques, Al Roon’s Club, N.Y. (pdf), histoire du happening Washes par Georgia René-Worms

Programme de Washes, Claes Oldenburg 1965

Texte à propos de Washes par Claes Oldenburg, 1966

Claes Oldenburg, Washes, 1965I wanted to do a piece in a swimming pool and the title suggested itself — « Washes ».
Then the problem was to find a swimming pool and to get the thing in motion. It took a long time to find a swimming pool. Finally Alan Solomon located the pool of Al Roon’s Health Club, and that became a reality. I enrolled for classes there, and I went there and I laid around the pool, I swam, I tried all the services, I was massaged, and aIl the time I was Just studying the possibilities of the place for a happening.
I did a lot more writing and a lot more feeling in the pool, sitting around and taking it in. And the next step is people for the happening. Like the place, they suggest very much what’s going to happen.
There are usually many volunteers, and I don’t turn anyone down , which gets me into trouble because my cast are usually too large.
My procedure is that I meet the people one night, then the second night I invent things for them to do, and the third night I kind of cut away the things that didn’t work the second night, and on the fourth night I have a run-through of the things that did work, and then cornes the fina I piece.


Washes Claes Oldenburg, Washes, 1965It was really a color piece ; it was a painting-type piece. Many of my pieces are more like dance or more like theatre, but this was a piece in which the visual was very important, like a painting. The most important element was the green water. And ‘Washes’ of course was reference to ‘water colors’. So everything that was done was done mostly for a color effect, though there was a dance element, and the dance was shaped by the obstacle of the water you can only move so fast in the water. It creates a certain kind of dance. Just as in « Moveyhouse » the way you can walk across seats carrying a bike creates another kind of dance.
The best way to have seen this happening would have been from above, because the pool became equal in my mind to a canvas : a large rectangular canvas into which I could place one thing after another until I had an enormous panorama of things floating in the pool. It started with the pool absolutely still ; Just green water, and a little red light floating in the middle of it. Then gradually there was more and more and more matter introduced into the pool. At the end it was very full of people and of objects–there was a chair floating around, and there were pieces of clothing floating around, and newspapers–it was like Coney Island beach or a flood, and lots of color.


Washes Claes Oldenburg, Washes, 1965Témoignage de Billy Name qui assista au Happening en compagnie de Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol attended Washes, accompanied by Factory photographer Billy Name who also took pictures of the event:
Billy Name: « An Oldenburg happening is something that no one in the art world would miss at that time. It was actually a post-happenings period event, so less grungy and more upper class, being in a commercial setting, the Al Roon Health Club.  So naturally you would find Jane Holzer and the upper east side crowd attending. David Whitney was for Andy Warhol what you might call an ‘art buddy’.  He was a happy, good-looking art world playboy and had the best connections (partnered with Philip Johnson). I knew Claes well from pre-factory downtown happenings and his art ‘store’ and ‘Ray Gun factory’, and so I accompanied Andy to the site, with my camera. Although all the ‘happenings events’ had been sketchily pre-planned, the crowd that turned out (around the very large swimming pool) was so large that it was difficult to maneuver and everything seemed to happen very haphazardly, more like a private party where people jumped into the pool fully clothed just for fun. It was ritzy and glitzy with the hoi polloi of the day. Andy took it all in with smiles and ‘oh, hi’s’, and David was at his prime clowning around and showing off. A great memory from a great time. »Vue du bâtiment qui abrite le Al Roon's Health Club, 73rd street, New York