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Between and Mortarboard

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System of Iconography--Plug, Mouse, Good Humor, Lipstick, Switches

Accession Number

System of Iconography--Plug, Mouse, Good Humor, Lipstick, Switches

Claes Oldenburg

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
lithograph on paper

28 1/8 in x 23 3/8 in (71.44 cm x 59.37 cm);32 1/8 in x 26 1/8 in (81.6 cm x 66.36 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of the Marvin Felheim Collection

Subject matter
Originally designed by Oldenburg for the June 1970 cover of Studio International, this print was part of a later edition published the following year. He released a humorous statement along with the Studio International cover saying, "The drawing is self-explanatory: these objects have attained a status of demi-gods in my work, producing off-spring in the disguise of other objects. The family relation of my subjects becomes evident. Drawings in this manner attempt to establish a lineage, binding my choices together into a "house"."

All of the objects drawn here Oldenburg produced as sculptures in variations in larger scales. For example, the Detroit Institute of Art has a hanging wooden sculpture, titled "Giant Three-Way Plug" from the same year he designed the cover. Following his iconic 1961 project, "The Store," his adaptation of Pop critically engaged with America's celebration of mass consumerism as well as with the history of art. 

Source for the Quote:
The Tate Gallery Report 1972–1974. London 1975.

Physical Description
This print has a series of images on a drawn grid. They include flat images of a threeway plug, a figure resembling Mickey Mouse, a tube of redish orange lipstick, and a pink Good Humor popsicle. The objects are arranged two by two on a gridded back ground. Labels accompany the individual objects: "three way plug", "geometric mouse", "lipstick", and "good humour", respectively. In addition, behind the lipstick there is a drawing of a light switch that is labeled "switches". The print is numbered (l.l.) "210/250" and signed (l.r.) "Oldenburg" in pencil.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
American (North American)
Mus (genus)
Objects of adornment
Pop (fine arts styles)
Swedish (culture or style)
electric switches
geometric shape
modern and contemporary art

4 Related Resources

Monuments and Memorials
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Whiteness in the Collection
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
Architectural representation
(Part of: Architecture and Buildings)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display