This focused presentation of works by Edward and Nancy Kienholz from 1982 to 1992 demonstrates the artists’ exploration of the representation of women in a contemporary, media-saturated society.
Encompassing a series of found-object tableaux that incorporate photography, television screens, and mirrors, the exhibition is anchored by a major work from ICA Miami’s permanent collection, The Soup Course at the She-She Café (1982). The Kienholz’s elaborate found-object tableaux and assemblages famously scrutinize American society, addressing issues surrounding war, racism, and working-class culture. The first project the artists collaborated on was “The Kienholz Women” (1972–early 1980s), a series of tableaux featuring female subjects performing functions that define them in relation to men—as wife, lover, widow, mother, or daughter—that raise questions about female agency. At a variety of scales, the works on view mirror how the image of women is shaped through a male gaze, and how mainstream media disseminates these representations.
Edward Kienholz (b. 1927, Fairfield, Washington; d. 1994, Sandpoint, Idaho) and Nancy Reddin Kienholz (b. 1943, Los Angeles) were married and worked together for more then two decades until Edward’s death in 1994. Major solo presentations of the artists’ work have been held at institutions worldwide, including Fondazione Prada, Milan (2016); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1997); the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1996); the Menil Collection, Houston (1995); the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1985); and Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1970), among others.