Spoonbridge and Cherry artist dies

by Brian Voerding

One of the artists who created the iconic "Spoonbridge and Cherry" has died. Coosje van Bruggen, 66, died of cancer Saturday in Los Angeles, according to the Associated Press.

In the mid-1980s, the Walker Art Center commissioned van Bruggen and her husband and long-time collaborator, Claes Oldenburg, to create the work for the Sculpture Garden.  

For the curious, a few facts (source: Walker Art Center) about the sculpture:

— The spoon weights 5,800 pounds; the cherry weighs 1,200.

— The sculpture is 52 feet long and (measuring to the top of the cherry stem) 29 feet high.

— The sculpture is made entirely out of aluminum and stainless steel (plus paint, of course).

— The spoon was Oldenburg’s idea; he was a pop artist who had been obsessed with the image for nearly two decades, incorporating it into other works. The cherry was van Bruggen’s idea; she wanted to add asense of playfulness to the Sculpture Garden, which she found overly formal.

— The cherry was built at a shipyard in Maine; the spoon was built in a shipyard in Rhode Island. They were painted in Connecticut and then shipped to Minnesota.

— The spoon and cherry arrived in May 1988 and were installed that month in the garden.