Kienholz. a Retrospective

Mixing a messy, process-based aesthetic of the Fifties with social engagement and overt political criticism better suited to the Sixties, Edward and Nancy Kienholz’s assemblages occupy a unique place in the history of post-World War II American art. From the first 1954 abstract paintings that integrated assemblage but mocked artistry with their titles through life-size creations of the 1960s and 1970s that, for instance, re-created a bar wherein the patrons have clocks in place of heads to Edward’s 1994 burial in his 1940 Packard, the works consistently offset a bleak social criticism with humor and humanity. In the planning stages for more than five years, the current retrospective (organized in connection with the Menil in Houston and showing in New York, Los Angeles, and Berlin) is likely to be the last survey of his large works for decades to come. Appropriately for such a climactic show, this catalog, with a half-dozen essays and more than 400 illustrations, masterfully encompasses the artists’ work and their aims. A 30-page chronology by collaborator and wife Nancy and the detailed commentaries on these complex works alone make this book an invaluable tool for students and casual viewers alike.

Text: Hopps Walter, Jackson Richard et al. cm 25×30; pp. 300; COL and BW; hardcover with dust jacket. Publisher: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York , 1996.

ISBN: 9780874270990 | 0874270995

Product Description

Mixing a messy, process-based aesthetic of the Fifties with social engagement and overt political criticism better suited to the Sixties, Edward and Nancy Kienholz’s assemblages occupy a unique place in the history of post-World War II American art. From the first 1954 abstract paintings that integrated assemblage but mocked artistry with their titles through life-size creations of the 1960s and 1970s that, for instance, re-created a bar wherein the patrons have clocks in place of heads to Edward’s 1994 burial in his 1940 Packard, the works consistently offset a bleak social criticism with humor and humanity. In the planning stages for more than five years, the current retrospective (organized in connection with the Menil in Houston and showing in New York, Los Angeles, and Berlin) is likely to be the last survey of his large works for decades to come. Appropriately for such a climactic show, this catalog, with a half-dozen essays and more than 400 illustrations, masterfully encompasses the artists’ work and their aims. A 30-page chronology by collaborator and wife Nancy and the detailed commentaries on these complex works alone make this book an invaluable tool for students and casual viewers alike.