Edward Kienholz


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(b Fairfield, Wash., 23 Oct. 1927; d Hope, Ida., 10 June 1994).

American sculptor specializing in life-size tableaux. Typically he created situations of a bizarre and gruesome character in which death and decay are common themes (his work is sometimes categorized as Funk art). A much reproduced example is The State Hospital (1964–6, Moderna Museet, Stockholm), showing a mentally ill patient strapped to his bed with his own self-image (in a thought bubble) strapped to the bed above. Both figures are modelled with revolting realism but have glass bowls for heads. H. H. Arnason (A History of Modern Art, 1969) describes the work as ‘one of the most horrifying concepts created by any modern artist’.

Subjects: Art.

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