Edward Kienholz: Back Seat Dodge '38


Ironically, over a decade later, in 1980, Back Seat Dodge '38 was purchased by LACMA. It now is considered one of the quintessential examples of the California assemblage movement and is among the most popular works in LACMA’s contemporary art collection.

It continues to inspire commentary and debate. In 1999 a volunteer docent caused an incident when, in discussing the object as part of a grade school tour, she encouraged the students to think before they had their first sexual experience. The school principal complained that this comment was inappropriate for 10-year-olds. Despite this occurrence, Back Seat Dodge '38 continued to be part of the museum’s school tour itinerary.

It is not currently on view due to LACMA’s current Transformation project, but will be reinstalled in late 2007.

—Michele Urton, 2005