Edward Kienholz

Eyridiki Sellou | Feb 14, 2024

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Edward Kienholz († June 10, 1994 Hope, Idaho) was an American object and conceptual artist. He is considered one of the leading neo-Dadaist artists who made the move from the Dadaist environment to object montage.

In the 1950s Kienholz, who never attended an art academy and was therefore largely self-taught, began his artistic work with wooden reliefs, gradually moving on to three-dimensionality.

His materials are objets trouvés, but in his case they can also be called objets cherchés, since he specifically looked for objects for his art at flea markets. It was important for him to combine his environments into a unity with the help of varnish or paint. Effects such as light or sounds also play a major role in his artworks. In contrast to other artists of Pop Art, Kienholz repeatedly addressed socially critical themes such as racial discrimination, violence, the oppression of women, and the Vietnam War in his works.

In his works, he alluded to the themes of birth control, equal opportunity and discrimination, the superficiality and double standards of citizens, but also to the wasteful frivolity in American society and addressed taboo subjects such as rape, the consequences of war, the elderly, the sick and the disabled left alone by society. An example is the large room-sized tableau "Das tragbare Kriegerdenkmal" (in the original: "Portable War Memorial") from 1968. Here he placed the national icons Kate Smith, Uncle Sam, and the group of soldiers at the United States Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington in a context of propaganda machinery and consumer society. It should be noted here that Kienholz was more of a moralist than a social critic.

Ed Kienholz had already been married four times when he met Nancy Reddin; he remained with her for the rest of his life. Nancy also participated in his art. Since their collaboration, the works are also signed with her name as Edward & Nancy Kienholz. This equality of multiple artists working on a common body of work was new and revolutionary at the time.

In 1957 he opened a painting gallery in Los Angeles, the Ferus Gallery. Kienholz participated in the 4th documenta and Documenta 5 in Kassel in 1968 and 1972.

Beginning in 1973, he, Nancy and their three children spent the summer months in Hope, Idaho and the winter months in Berlin, where he was a guest of the Berliner Künstlerprogramm de DAAD in 1973. In 1974 Edward Kienholz participated in ADA actions of the avant-garde in Berlin.

In 1977 he opened the Faith and Charity in Hope Gallery. From the 1970's he executed his concept tableaux works only by commission. In 1989, he and Nancy presented their work in Düsseldorf at the Städtische Kunsthalle in the exhibition Kienholz 1980's. In 1996 and 1997 his work was shown in a retrospective in New York and Berlin.

Kienholz was buried in his Packard with a dollar in his pocket, a bottle of red wine and an urn containing his dog's ashes.


  1. Edward Kienholz
  2. Edward Kienholz
  3. ^ a b c Sewell, Brian (19 November 2009). "Truth about the sex trade from Edward Kienholz". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  4. ^ a b c "Edward Kienholz / MATRIX 21". Archived from the original on December 1, 2009.
  5. ^ "Late Fifties at the Ferus". Archived from the original on January 29, 2010.
  6. ^ "His truck used to have ED KIENHOLZ--EXPERT painted on the door. You might not trust Roy Lichtenstein to frame a shed or Jasper Johns to re-weld a railing, but Kienholz was doing that stuff since childhood." Hughes, Robert. "All-American Barbaric Yawp." May 6, 1996. TIME
  7. ^ Kienholz, Edward; Kienholz, Nancy Reddin; Hopps, Walter [curator]; Brooks, Rosetta (1996). Kienholz : a retrospective (2. print. ed.). New York: Whitney Museum of American Art. ISBN 978-0-87427-099-0.
  8. Archivlink (Memento vom 9. Oktober 2011 im Internet Archive)
  9. Website over de Ferus Gallery
  10. Mit Ed Kienholz' "Roxys" schließt der Sammler Reinhard Onnasch nach drei Jahren seine Schauräume: Bordellbesuch mit Folgen Sebastian Preuss in Berliner Zeitung, 19 december 2009
  11. Die Macht der Medien bij Schirn Magazine. Gearchiveerd op 24 september 2015. Geraadpleegd op 9 februari 2014.
  12. a b Edward Kienholz (dán és angol nyelven)

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