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Sollie 17

1979-1980 Edward Kienholz Born: Fairfield, Washington 1927 Died: Sandpoint, Idaho 1994 Nancy Reddin Kienholz mixed media construction 120 x 336 x 168 in. (304.8 x 853.4 x 426.7 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment © 1980, Nancy Reddin Kienholz 2001.58 Smithsonian American Art Museum
3rd Floor, East Wing


Gallery Label

Edward and Nancy Reddin Kienholz collected furniture, fixtures, wallpaper, and personal effects from the Pedicord Hotel in Spokane, Washington. They created this installation to convey the isolation and defeat of aging alone in America. An old man in boxer shorts appears in three moments that describe an ordinary day in his life. He peers through the window at a bleak cityscape, plays solitaire on the edge of his bed, and, in a darkly comic touch, reads A Handful of Men with one hand down his shorts. Snapshots in the mirror frame suggest the life he once enjoyed with others. Naked bulbs and straggling wires threaten, as if suggesting how this abandoned human being might die, while ugly stains on the walls, floor, and under the reclining figure suggest that the people who live here are already decomposing. The Kienholzes' installations explore the seamy underside of this country's habitual optimism, reflecting the hardscrabble lives Edward encountered in a series of marginal jobs before he joined San Francisco's "funk art" scene. Sollie 17 offers a voyeuristic glimpse into a life of solitary despair. It elicits sympathy, fear, and questions for a society that leaves its elderly to sit and wait for death.

Exhibition Label, Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2006

Keywords

Architecture Interior - detail - door

Architecture Interior - detail - window

Architecture Interior - domestic - apartment

Figure group - male

Object - furniture - bed

Object - furniture - chair

Object - furniture - chest

Object - furniture - mirror

Object - other - sign

Object - other - telephone

Object - written matter - book

sculpture

About Edward Kienholz

Born: Fairfield, Washington 1927 Died: Sandpoint, Idaho 1994

About Nancy Reddin Kienholz

More works in the collection by
Edward Kienholz

More works in the collection by
Nancy Reddin Kienholz