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Thursday, July 6, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Percy Allen

Allen loans massive "Eraser"

Seattle Times NBA reporter

In a first for our city, the Paul Allen Family is publicly loaning an artwork from its collections to an art museum. Seattle Art Museum announced that "Typewriter Eraser, Scale X (1998-99)" — a 5-ton, 19-foot steel sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen — will be at the Olympic Sculpture Park, opening Oct. 28.

Allen gave Seattle a first peek at his collection this summer with the exhibition "Double Take" at Experience Music Project.

Oldenburg made a name in the 1960s as a pop artist and sculptor of the mundane. He brought normally unobtrusive objects, such as a water spigot or clothespin, to our attention and made their common forms — often in huge scale — look elegant and strange. As a child he liked to play with his father's typewriter eraser and later used the image for a series of drawings, prints and sculptures. "Typewriter Eraser, Scale X" is the largest of three sculptures Oldenburg created of the form, beginning in the 1970s. Another is on view at the Sculpture Garden of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Michael Nank, a spokesman for Allen, refused to say where "Typewriter Eraser" is currently displayed, citing security reasons. He said that Allen at times has loaned work to museums anonymously, but would not say if he has previously loaned to Seattle institutions.

Sheila Farr: sfarr@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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