new-york

Edward Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz

Louver Gallery

The Kienholzes’ open-ended, all-inclusive attitude toward assemblage conveys a number of unchic sentiments. Although the recent works are generally less severe than their predecessors, the existential angst of beatnik days lingers on. If the scale is occasionally heroic, the feeling is mawkish, that of mucking around with the cast-off odds and ends of a culture gone to seed. To let oneself be maudlin and still to give a damn demands a rare kind of courage. Compare the Kienholzes’ technique to what’s become the norm in sculpture: it’s impossible to imagine them searching out just the right element, consulting a team of fabricators, or fussing over some ironic nuance. Rather, they dredge up a mountain of junk and press it into service.

That the pieces should fit together awkwardly comes as no surprise. This awkwardness is their form and their content. In this collection of works, a vague

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