The Birthday (1964) by Ed Kienholz

The Birthday - Ed Kienholz - 1964

Artwork Information

TitleThe Birthday
ArtistEd Kienholz
MediumTableau: Mannequin With Electrically Lighted Lucite, Gynecologist's Examination Table, Suitcase, Clothing, Paper, Flock, Fiberglass, Paint, And Polyester Resin
Dimensions84 x 120 x 60 in. (213.4 x 304.8 x 152.4 cm)
Current LocationStaatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany

About The Birthday

One of Ed Kienholz’s most remarkable works is The Birthday, created in 1964. This piece features a mannequin illuminated with electrically lighted Lucite, standing on a gynecologist’s examination table alongside various objects like clothing and a suitcase. Kienholz utilized his found-object assemblage technique to create this installation.

Kienholz was known for his carpentry skills, which he learned during his youth while living on a farm. By acquiring these skills, he created thought-provoking artworks that were an indictment of what he saw as the hypocrisy and immorality of contemporary life. His works communicate their messages through intricate displays that offer audiences an alternative parallel reality.

The Birthday installation provides a whole story in one parallel vision, inviting viewers to examine and interpret it according to their experiences and perspective. With Nancy Reddin Kienholz as his artistic partner from 1972 onwards, the artist executed many significant pieces together. Overall, Kienholz remains an essential figure in contemporary art history thanks to how he pushed boundaries with his installations and challenged convention through his bold statements about society’s truths.

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