Ed Kienholz Sells Out

Ed Kienholz, "For 10 Screwdrivers"

LACMA has opened two drawing exhibitions. One, on Ed Moses, features many newly promised gifts from the artist. The companion show is on Moses’ L.A. contemporaries of the 60s and 70s. Among the surprises in the latter are two Ed Kienholz watercolors he bartered for cash and merchandise. These invite comparison to “Boggs notes,” the hand-drawn replicas of U.S. currency that J.S.G. Boggs has more recently traded for goods.

Shown are Kienholz’s For 10 Screwdrivers (1969) and For $251.00 (1972). Kienholz made similar watercolors to swap for food, horses, a Timex watch, a Mercedes, a Rudi Gernreich dress, and a John Baldessari artwork.

One tale—though it sounds apocryphal—is that the city tried to shut down Kienholz’s 1969 show at Eugenia Butler Gallery on the grounds that the bartering was a scam to evade paying sales tax.

Ed Kienholz, "For $251"


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