Explore the Era

Delve into the postwar Los Angeles art world in this online archive, which provides additional material related to the exhibitions on view at the Getty Center. Learn about hipsters and happenings, and the venues across the city where all the action took place through images from the archives and first-hand accounts with the artists.

The Future as Afterthought

The Future as Afterthought

The Future as Afterthought, 1962, Edward Kienholz. Paint and resin on plastic and rubber doll parts with sheet metal, tricycle pedals, and wood. 54 x 21 x 16 15/16 in. Onnasch Collection. © Nancy Reddin Kienholz. Photo courtesy L.A. Louver, Venice, CA

Drawing from the physical, social, and political landscapes of Los Angeles, many of the city’s artists created assemblage sculpture and collage by combining discarded objects. Ed Kienholz was among several artists who utilized assemblage as a mode of social commentary, creating works that expressed personal trauma and social upheaval, while taking a critical view of postwar consumerism and the glut of increasingly disposable wares. In The Future as Afterthought, a mass of grimy, damaged plastic dolls are strapped awkwardly together atop a wooden pedestal in a way that suggests dangerous overpopulation and evokes the form of the atomic mushroom cloud. At the base of the sculpture, a dismembered doll head seems to melt and scream in silent agony, its eyes closed tight in the face of inevitable looming disaster.

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Works of Art

  • Walter Hopps Hopps Hopps

    Walter Hopps Hopps Hopps, 1959, Edward Kienholz. Paint and resin on wood, printed color reproductions, ink on paper, vertebrae, telephone parts, candy, dental molds, metal, pencil, and leather. 87 x 42 x 21 in. The Menil Collection, Houston, Gift of Lannan Foundation. © Nancy Reddin Kienholz. Photo: Susan Einstein

Explore the Archive

  • Video: Edward Kienholz’s 1961 exhibition at Ferus Gallery

    Video: Attend the opening of Edward Kienholz’s 1961 exhibition at the Ferus Gallery. Excerpt from the television program Story of an Artist, 1962, directed by William Kronick. Licensed by Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.

  • Ferus Gallery, Edward Kienholz installation

    Exterior view of the Ferus Gallery during the exhibition of Edward Kienholz's installation Roxy's, 1962. Photo by William Claxton. Courtesy Demont Photo Management, LLC.

  • Los Angeles artists at Culture Day at LACMA, 1968

    Several Los Angeles artists at Culture Day at LACMA (L.A. County Museum of Art), 1968. Photo by and © Julian Wasser.

  • Edward Kienholz, 1958

    Edward Kienholz in 1958. Image courtesy of Marvin Silver and Craig Krull Gallery. © Marvin Silver