Edward Kienholz

Edward Kienholz (Fairfield, United States, 1927 - Hope, United States, 1994) trained at Eastern Washington University but left without any formal qualification. In 1957, along with Walter Hopps, he founded the Ferus gallery in Los Angeles, one of the key centres for avant-garde art on the American West Coast. Kienholz’s art consists of assemblages and large installations, which he himself defines as tableaux. These complex structures, which take the form of entire environments, often present atrocious and violent representations of crimes committed by the American society. Roxys (1961), for example, is a representation in real scale of a 1940s brothel in Las Vegas, inhabited by sculptures that evoke women-objects who bear traces of violence.

In 1996 the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York dedicated a large retrospective to Kienholz. His works are in the collections of the most important American art museums, such as the Walker Art Center, Minnesota, Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C. His installation Roxys (1961) was shown at Punta della Dogana in the exhibition “In Praise of Doubt” (2011-13).