Venice, CA -- L.A. Louver is pleased to announce an exhibition of assemblage sculptures and tableaux by Ed and Nancy Kienholz. A fully illustrated catalogue has been published on the occasion of this exhibition.
"You may have guessed that I have long had a love/hate relationship with American TV. I sit dummy style in front of that marvelous communication tool and find my years slipping by and my mind turning to slush from the 95% trash being beamed my way. To try and understand my ongoing stupidity and perhaps to express some kind of critical objectivity I find that I keep making TV sets out of anything that vaguely resembles a TV apparatus (oil containers, block of concrete, surplus jerry cans etc.)." – Ed Kienholz in a letter to Sidney Felsen, Gemini G.E.L., January 4, 1984
Throughout the course of Ed and Nancy Kienholz’s careers and collaborations, the television found its way into many of their works, and became a recurring theme. Together they made over 30 unique assemblage works, installations, and series of multiples related to the television set. The exhibition will feature 13 of these works, produced between the late 1960s and Ed’s passing in 1994, as well as a singular piece created by Nancy in 2006.
The earliest works in the exhibition focus on the television as a solitary object, such as "Solid State" (1965) and "Cement TV" (1969). Both are small portable TVs cast in concrete, their cumbersome forms rendered void of any functionality. Later works like "All’s Quiet" (1986) and "Chicken Little" (1992) feature miniature tableaux encased within opaque plastic water jugs and lit from within, creating a luminescent glow that enlivens the scenes portrayed.
A number of the works on view reflect domestic environs staged around the television. In "Useful Art No.1" (1992), a banal bedroom setting is crudely interrupted by an excretion from a TV set atop a dresser, while a decorative painting depicts a wolf preying upon a mountain town. The largest work on view, "Bout Round Eleven" (1982), features two life-size figures: A man sits at his work table with tools spread out before him, while nearby a woman stands arms crossed, facing outward — neither acknowledging the other. While the figures seemingly lack any emotion, an enraged dog snarls through the screen of a television set between them.
"The Newses" (1993-94) is the only work cast in bronze. Three hazardous waste containers are transformed into TVs, each houses an alien-like head, all dressed in identical shirts and ties. Outlined crosses that contain inserted bullets are placed in the corner of each backlit enclosure. Their uniformity suggests three channels, each cycling the same regurgitated story. In a 1984 letter, Ed Kienholz explains, “Gone are the days of separate squads of reporters braving the world for exclusive stories. Instead are the teams of three made-up of one member from each network filming three of the same segments from three slightly different angles and perspectives, with the results proudly presented to you over your morning coffee and mush as incisive journalism.”
Edward Kienholz (1927-1994) and Nancy Reddin Kienholz (b. 1943) have been the subject of numerous international exhibitions throughout their artistic partnership. Their work can be found in public collections worldwide. Select institutions include Berlinische Galerie, Berlin, Germany; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Fondazione Prada, Milan, Italy; The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Museum Ludwig, Koln, Germany; Menil Collection, Houston, TX; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Francois Pinault Collection, Venice, Italy; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY.