Berlin art tip: The Art Show by Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz

Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz The Art Show

From 10 May until 15 October 2018 the Berlinische Galerie will be exhibiting The Art Show, 1963–1977, one of the best-known works by Edward Kienholz (Fairfield/Washington 1927–1994 Hope/Idaho) and Nancy Reddin Kienholz (*1943 Los Angeles/California).

The theme of The Art Show is an exhibition opening in a gallery. The artists based their characters on friends and well-known figures in the art world of the 1970s, including their own three children. The autodidact Edward Kienholz began thinking about this tongue-in-cheek, walk-through scene between 1963 and 1967, when he was still in the United States.
Its implementation, however, has close links with Berlin. The husband-and-wife team came to Berlin in 1973 on a DAAD residency and decided that in future they would spend a part of each year in the city. They also decided to create The Art Show here. For about twenty years,
from 1973 until Edward Kienholz died in 1994, the couple were familiar faces in the Berlin art community. The Art Show, one of their major works, was acquired by the Berlinische Galerie collection in 1996.

The tableau is composed of 19 figures and 14 collage-like artworks that reflect the production of the body moulds, the furnishing and decoration of the gallery space and the laying of power cables. The figures all wear clothes belonging to the people they are based on. The faces, however, are distorted by vents and nozzles from scrapped vehicles, which radiate warm air.


Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, The Art Show, 1963–1977, detail, Berlinische Galerie, photo: Caro Wagner, Berlinische Galerie,
© Nancy Reddin Kienholz

Photo credits are:

Edward und Nancy Reddin Kienholz
The Art Show, 1963–1977
Detail, Berlinische Galerie
Foto: Caro Wagner, Berlinische Galerie
© Nancy Reddin Kienholz

Edward und Nancy Reddin Kienholz, The Art Show, 1963–1977
Berlinische Galerie
Foto: Marie-Claire Krahulec, Berlinische Galerie, © Nancy Reddin Kienholz



By pressing buttons on the figures, viewers trigger comments about art by the people depicted, accompanied in the background by original sound from an exhibition preview.

One of the figures in The Art Show was modelled on the artist Eduardo Paolozzi.
A major solo exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie, Eduardo Paolozzi. Lots of Pictures – Lots of Fun, is currently devoted to his work and will run until 28 May 2018. The artists met in Berlinand valued each other’s work. In 1974/75 Paolozzi likewise spent a fruitful year in the divided city as a guest of the DAAD and was in touch with other international artists in Berlin at the time, including Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, George Rickey and Christo.