Edward Kienholz Backseat Dodge ‘38 1964
On account of displaying this sculpture in 1966, which shows in somewhat abstract form a couple having sex in the back seat of the car, the L.A. County Museum of Art had to fight off obscenity charges and had to struggle against the LA County Board of Supervisors in order not to lose its funding. A little foretaste of Trumpworld.
Kienholz later wrote of the sculpture, saying it was based on an experience he had in his father’s 1938 Dodge when he was 17 years old: “This girl was out there, and I enticed her into the car. We got some beer and pulled off in the tules someplace and did intimate and erotic things… and we sat there and drank beer and had a nice time. And I couldn’t remember her name later. I thought, what a crazy situation — to be that intimate with a person and not know who they are. It just seemed wrong to me in a way. And then I got to thinking about back seats and Dodges and the kind of a world where kids are really forced into a cramped space in — maybe even a fear situation, certainly a furtive situation. Like what a miserable first experience of sex most kids go through. I mean, the back seats of cars.” Edward Kienholz