Though he is often identified with postwar Los Angeles, the American artist Edward Kienholz was actually born and raised in the Inland Northwest and spent the majority of his life here. Beyond Hope: Kienholz and the Inland Northwest explores the collaborative artistic practice of Ed and his wife, Nancy Reddin Kienholz, during the decades they spent living and working in the small northern Panhandle town of Hope, Idaho. Renowned for their politically confrontational and socially engaged artwork, the Kienholzes’ presence in the Inland Northwest showcases how radical and boundary-pushing artists are not exclusively confined to coastal urban centers, and that regions often regarded as peripheral and conservative have in fact offered fertile ground for artistic experimentation, risk, and critique. Beyond Hope contributes to revised understandings of American art history by examining how two internationally recognized artists embedded their work in local and regional culture, environment, and history.
While the Kienholzes’ impact on art and culture of the inland Northwest was widely acknowledged during Ed’s lifetime, it has since faded from public memory, and exists more as personal reminiscence than art history. The Kienholzes’ hybrid life-work practice in Hope points to the capacity for experimental and category-defying histories of American art to remain hidden in plain sight. In keeping with these artists’ investigations of the profound contradictions and often brutal realities of the human condition, Beyond Hope hopes to locate, literally and figuratively, the universal through the particular by embedding art in everyday experience.
Organized by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and guest curated by Johanna Gosse. Funding for this exhibition is provided by Nancy Spitzer, the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Endowment, the John Matthews Friel Memorial Arts Lectureship, and friends of the museum.
The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU is located in the Crimson Cube (on Wilson Road across from Martin Stadium and the CUB) on the WSU Pullman campus.