The preface of Claes Oldenburg, published by the editors of the October journal, reads less like an introduction and more like a warning label, an Intellectually Explicit Advisory: prepare yourself, reader, for “a critical literature that is serious, sophisticated, and sustained.” It comes as no surprise that the essays at hand require a seriously sophisticated, sustained effort to read. They were not compiled for the casual fan or the easily concussed. Rather, they are “intended as primers in signal practices of art and criticism alike, and they are offered in resistance to the amnesiac and antitheoretical tendencies of our time.” While the intellectual intentions are clear, the subject, Claes Oldenburg, remains elusive. As Donald Judd admitted in a review in 1964, “I think Oldenburg’s work is profound. I think it’s very hard to explain how.” Without sacrificing the difficulty, Claes Oldenburg at least tries.