Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Ed Kienholz - The Beanery

One of his most famous tableaus is "The Beanery", a sculpture based on the famous bar called "Barney's Beanery" in West Hollywood, near Los Angeles. Done in 1965, the tableau is one of the first to actually be chemically impregnated to produce an odor. As you look into the tableau, you smell the odor of beer, and hear the sound of barroom chatter and clinking glasses from an audiotape. The room is filled with people who are represented by store manikins with clocks set at 10:10 for faces. The women in the bar are wearing old and badly worn fur coats and the men are slouched at the bar drinking. Outside the tableau is a newspaper vending machine with a paper headlining an article titled "Children Kill Children in Vietnam." This is clearly an antiwar statement at a time that saw great resistance to the Viet Nam war, although the sculpture is less a political indictment than a condemnation of a culture that ignores brutality in it's everyday life.

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