Created in 1968, The Portable War Memorial is a remarkable mixed media installation piece by Ed Kienholz. This piece is a monument to those lost in the Vietnam War and consists of many elements such as plaster casts, tombstone, blackboard, flag, poster, restaurant furniture, photographs and other materials including wood, metal and fiberglass. It further includes a working Coca-Cola machine and a stuffed dog. Currently located in the collection of the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany this impressive artwork measures 114 x 384 x 96 inches (289.6 x 975.4 x 243.8 cm).
The Portable War Memorial is an incredible example of Ed Kienholz’s work and stands as a testament to his creativity and craftsmanship. The complexity of materials used lends itself to an incredibly powerful message that has stood the test of time since its completion fifty years ago.
The artworks of Ed Kienholz are known for their complex subject matter and unique use of materials and another example from 1959 is ‘John Doe’. This installation combines materials such as wood, concrete and fibreglass with life cast figures for an eye-catching articulation about society at large.