Artist Profile

Edward and Nancy Kienholz

Edward – 1927 – 1994
Nancy – 1943 – 2019

Edward Kienholz was born in Fairfield, Washington, and grew up on a farm. Before moving to Los Angeles in 1953, Kienholz had supported himself with a variety of jobs, including working as an orderly in a mental hospital, as a used car and vacuum cleaner salesman, as a manager of a dance band, as a window display designer, as a bootleg club owner, and as owner of a restaurant. His background contributed to a sort of “homemade do-it-yourself modernism” growing out of the Beat aesthetic, which is visible in his assemblage sculpture, tableaux, environments, and conceptual pieces.

In 1972, Kienholz began producing pieces jointly with his fifth wife, Nancy Reddin, a photographer born in Los Angeles, who was the daughter of Tom Reddin, the conservative former LA police chief. According to Reddin, she attended no art schools and like Kienholz was self-taught, “except for the fact that I went to ‘the school of Kienholz’ for over twenty years. I am a photographer, but Ed taught me everything I know about art. He taught me to weld and to solder, cast figures, paint, and to believe in my eye.” The Kienholzes’ work holds an unique place in American art for not only its biting and insightful criticism of contemporary society, but also its empathetic musing on human nature.



Works in Our Collection

Edward and Nancy Kienholz
The Jerry Can Standard
Mixed media, edition 14 of 26, 1981
67 1/2 x 18 x 12 inches
Gift of Dr. and Mrs. James Croul, Alan and Kay Davison, Johanna and Gene Felder, Janet Taylor Gosselin, Dr. and Mrs. John Kennady, Richard Mumper, Kristen Paulson, Ted and Suzanne Paulson, Joan B. Rehnborg, Jacqueline Schroeder, and Anne E. Summers, and Mr. and Mrs. Eric A. Wittenberg.


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