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Freshly painted red and black cherry flipped on side

Photo courtesy Fine Art Finishes.


Minneapolis will soon be reunited with its Cherry! On February 18 around 11 AM, the freshly restored and re-painted Cherry of Spoonbridge and Cherry will return to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Since mid-November, the 1200 pound aluminum ball has been in New York under the care of Fine Art Finishes while the Spoonbridge base has remained without its iconic fruit. In order to keep the red crisp and glossy through all seasons, the Cherry requires a fresh coat of paint about every ten years.

Coosje van Bruggen and Claes Oldenburg’s Spoonbridge and Cherry has been on view in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden since it’s opening in 1988. The Cherry was last separated from the Spoon for restoration and re-painting in 2009.



A giant ice cream cone, a huge electric plug, an enormous bag of French fries—with his surprising representations of everyday things, Claes Oldenburg became a key voice in Pop Art, a 1960s movement that saw many artists turning to advertising and consumer products for subject matter. By the early 1980s, he had begun to make monumental outdoor works with Coosje van Bruggen, his wife and artistic partner. Spoonbridge and Cherry is one of their most celebrated collaborations. It was the first work commissioned for the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which opened in 1988.

The fountain-sculpture was inspired by a novelty item Oldenburg had collected in 1962, featuring a spoon resting on an “island” of plastic chocolate. From this, the artists envisioned a gigantic utensil as a fanciful bridge over a pond. In considering Minnesota as a site, they compared the spoon’s raised bowl to the prow of a Viking ship or a duck bobbing in a lake. Van Bruggen added the cherry, a personal symbol recalling happy moments in a childhood clouded by World War II. At more than 50 feet long, Spoonbridge and Cherry has delighted visitors ever since and is now a familiar and iconic symbol for the Twin Cities.

Collection Walker Art Center
Gift of Frederick R. Weisman in honor of his parents, William and Mary Weisman, 1988


Since opening in 1988, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden has become one of the Twin Cities’ most popular and acclaimed attractions. One of the largest urban sculpture parks in the United States, it includes four 100-foot-square quadrants containing works by leading modern and contemporary artists. Each of these “roofless rooms” are bordered by low granite walls and evergreen hedges that lead to a clearing surrounded by evergreens, which features the city’s adopted icon, Spoonbridge and Cherry, a sculpture specifically created for the space by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Anchoring the west side of the Garden is the Cowles Conservatory, which houses seasonal plantings and the sculpture Standing Glass Fish, by architect Frank Gehry. Another iconic work is the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge, a 375-foot steel-and-wood footbridge designed by artist Siah Armajani, which spans 16 lanes of traffic and connects the Garden to Loring Park. The 1992 expansion of the Garden on its northern end was designed by landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh.


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