From the day in 1969 that Claes Oldenburg’s Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks first appeared in Beinecke Plaza it was magnificently outrageous. With its bright-red plastic inflatable tip that has since been replaced by a rigid metal one, it was both confrontational and sexy, both feminine and phallic. Like a lightning rod, the Lipstick drew angry crowds protesting culture wars and armed conflicts. Protest leaders couldn’t help but jump upon its tank treads to bark revolution through megaphones. Yet … it made one smile during those demonstrations. It’s now in a quieter venue, the Morse courtyard, retired from battle, but also unable to temper the crowd’s passion with its irony.
– Ben Slotznick