writer's block, mental torpor and Ed Kienholz

I'm stumbling over myself for quite a while, unable to compose a coherent post. A death in the family (and the long illness that led up to it) has, I think, really eaten away at my concentration. "Eaten away at" is not the right sense, more dissolved, mixed with and diluted. What was never really sharp-eyed or crystalline to begin with is now more of... a colloidal suspension. Little granules of thoughts and ideas, diffused and suspended in a sluggish mental matrix. How apt it is then that I've finally rediscovered Ed Kienholz, the master of polyurethane resin. His work is like opening someone's memory closet, an illicit, stolen view of thoughts suspended and things coated and gelled. Reified inertia.

For the longest time I couldn't recall his name, all I could remember was the immense impression this piece, Sollie 17, above, made on me, X-years ago at the Whitney. Then, just the other day, the name somehow came back--Kienholz, Ed Kienholz (not Kurzwiel, not Ed Gein) --and with that, the recollection of several other of his insistently disturbing pieces. Fantastical ugly things that are, to me, mesmerizing– a brash and experientially bullying version of Cornell.
I love the materials list for this particular piece:
wood, plexiglass, furniture, sink, lights, photographs, plaster casts, pots, pans, books, cans, boxes, three pairs of underwear, linoleum, leather, wool, cotton, sound track, glass, metal, paint, polyester resin, paper, metal coffee can, sand, and cigarette butts
And then there's this description of kienholz at artnet.com: "George Segal's pristine white sculptures after an evening of intense carousing with Charles Bukowski."


Anonymous said...

Imagine my surprise when, wandering around the Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam, looking for the Ladies, I came upon Keinholz's Back Seat Dodge, apparently stored in a corner of the basement!

Onward & sideways.

Anonymous said...

Yes,,,thanks for a Keinholz view...on my first visit to the Whitney Museum in the mid 1970's I had a profound experience of a sculpture by Keinholz with a large jar, window screen , various letters ..plastic fruit etc...I still remembering thinking all is possible with disparate ingredients...thanks for another view into the connected disconnect...rw

Emily said...

Looking at this image, reading the artnet review, reminds me of 2 exhibitions I saw yesterday at MoMA: the Jeff Wall photographs of staged settings and then Armando Reverón--selection of his beautiful,eerie paintings and strangely, upsetting dolls.


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