Edward Kienholz

The Wait
1964–65

Not on view

The Wait illuminates the poignancy of passing time and the sorrowful isolation of the elderly in a life-size domestic tableau. The figure of an old woman, constructed of cow bones and encased in plastic coating, clutches a taxidermied cat and sits beneath a framed portrait of a young man who was presumably her beloved. In place of her face is a glass jar with a photograph of a young, attractive woman on the front and a cow skull set inside. She wears a necklace of glass canning jars containing crosses and gold figurines that represent her memories as imagined by the artist: “her childhood on a farm and move on to girlhood, waiting for her man, marriage, bearing children, being loved, wars, family, death and then senility, where everything becomes a hodgepodge.” She awaits her imminent death to the song of a live parakeet in a nearby cage, a disparity that renders the melancholy of the woman’s situation all the more evident.

Artist
Edward Kienholz

Title
The Wait

Date
1964–65

Accession number
66.49a-k

Credit line
Gift of the Howard and Jean Lipman Foundation, Inc.

Rights and reproductions information
© artist or artist’s estate




Images and Permissions