Los Angeles

Edward Kienholz

Eugenia Butler Gallery

If Edward Kienholz had sprung upon us his latest body of work two or three (or especially more) years ago, it is uncertain whether many would have rushed to buy it, whole or piecemeal. What is so fascinating about the dauntlessly cheerful willingness of his public to barter for his hundreds of new watercolors is that Kienholz has negotiated a preposterously brazen and entirely characteristic deal, openly, largely by timing himself right. He is acquiring lots of money and, to boot, most of the possessions he might otherwise have to purchase with it, by trading on a current esthetic vagary: “Concept Art.” The ground has been laid by Oldenburg, Smithson and De Maria, by Kosuth, Baldessari, Baxter et al. Kienholz himself has of course prepared us for this too, in the Concept Tableaux of 1963–67, but they were not so popularly received as the present series; besides, the concept was still

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