Untitled (San Francisco) was made in Idaho in 1984 and was facetiously dedicated to Henry Hopkins, the then director of the San Francisco Museum of Art who added “modern” to its name. Assembled from the remnants and found objects from a hotel room, including a collage, shelf and small lamp, this playful piece—a satirical shrine of sorts—echoes the decidedly un-modern spirit of San Francisco’s bohemian culture. Kienholz’s works, with their critical and anti-establishment content, are often linked to the 1960s Funk Art movement in the Bay Area.
Known for his installations and assemblages, Edward Kienholz was part of a generation of important artists—including Robert Irwin, Ed Moses, Craig Kauffman, and John Altoon—who established and exhibited at Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles in the 1950s. The booming art scene around Ferus gave visibility and credibility to West Coast contemporary art. Highly critical of modernism, Kienholz’s theatrical assemblages of found objects and decaying detritus often refer to current events and social issues.