Los Angeles

Edward Kienholz

Dwan Gallery

Kienholz continues to construct his commentary on the nature of love in our time. You’d have thought the “Illegal Operation” sufficient to give his protagonists pause. But now they’re sprawled through heaven and hell and the space in between and Kienholz’ mixture of hardnose and elegance singles them out, unforgettably, being born, loving in a car, or lying side by side having brightly lit thoughts of each other (because they’re plugged into the same outlet). These works are truly delightful in a nerve-wracking sort of way, and Kienholz’s control of a tremendous vocabulary of beat-up cars, electricity, luggage, chairs, Pall Malls, Olympia beer cans, cast-off or torn up garments, linoleum, mangled bedclothes, plaster, screen, paint, and plastic is just simply amazing.

In the car tableau (and what a machine that car is) two people sweat at love, the girl (whose name is Mildred) holding a can of beer, while all the lights of the car blaze away, including the foglight. As it says in the Panchatantra “What’s duly his a man receives.” Or, if you look at it another way, “This is what I get for being careless.”

During the summer the gallery showed individual works from its stable. As each person shown is a considerable artist, it would be ridiculous to discuss them at any length on the basis of these individual works. Some of the more outstanding are: a Franz Kline of 1960 Contrada, a welded metal and canvas sculpture by Lee Bontecou, a 1961 oil by Willem de Kooning, and, especially, a large oil Untitled, 1962, by Robert Rauschenberg.

John Reuschel