Ed Kienholz Biography and Artwork

Edward Ralph Kienholz was an American installation artist and sculptor born in 1927 in Fairfield, Washington. He moved to Los Angeles in 1953, and eventually became known for his critical commentary on modern life through his artwork. Kienholz’s art often explored themes of social injustice, inequality, and the dark side of American culture.

Throughout his career, Kienholz worked on elaborate found-object assemblages and life-size installations referred to as “tableaux.” These pieces were often provocative and challenged traditional notions of art by including everyday objects such as car parts or mannequins into the pieces. One of his most controversial works was “The State Hospital,” which provided a harrowing portrayal of conditions in a mental hospital.

Kienholz received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1975 and worked extensively with his fifth wife, Nancy Reddin Kienholz. Together they collaborated on several notable pieces such as “The Beanery” which depicted a stylized bar scene based off an actual dive bar in West Hollywood. His work is often considered an indictment of contemporary society’s hypocrisy and immorality.

Edward Kienholz’s legacy lives on through his thought-provoking art that continues to spark conversation around social issues even after his passing in 1994 at Hope Idaho.

All Ed Kienholz Artwork on Artchive

Artwork Name Year Medium
The State Hospital (exterior) 1966 Tableau: Plaster Casts, Fiberglass, Hospital Beds,
Sollie 17 1979-80 Paper, Metal Coffee Can, Sand, And Cigarette Butts
To Mourn A Dead Horse 1989 Pencil, Paint, And Polyester Resin
The Birthday 1964 Tableau: Mannequin With Electrically Lighted Lucite, Gynecologist's Examination Table, Suitcase, Clothing, Paper, Flock, Fiberglass, Paint, And Polyester Resin
The Illegal Operation 1962
History as a Planter 1961
John Doe 1959
The Portable War Memorial 1968 Coca-Cola machine, stuffed dog, wood, metal, and fiberglass
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