When local Los Angeles artist Edward Kienholz debuted Back Seat Dodge at the Dwan Gallery in 1964, the life-size sculpture with two mannequins simulating sex in the back seat of a car inspired both chuckles and praise. Two years later in 1966, at the newly opened Los Angeles County Art Museum, the sculpture elicited a very different reaction. County supervisors called the work obscene, and threatened to cut off the museum’s funding unless the sculpture was removed. Eventually a compromise was reached: the car door was kept shut so children could not see the copulating mannequins, and museum visitors over age eighteen could ask a guard to open the car door and get a quick peek. It is no surprise that Back Seat Dodge soon became the most notorious artwork in Los Angeles.
Gallery 98 offers here a rare poster from the first showing of Back Street Dodge at the Dwan Gallery in 1964. It is part of a recently acquired collection of Dwan Gallery posters from the 1960s. Founded by Virginia Dwan in 1959, the Dwan Gallery, along with the Ferus Gallery, played a key role in bringing new art movements to Los Angeles. Each exhibition was accompanied by a poster designed by featured artists, such as Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, Yves Klein, and Niki de St. Phalle.
Larry Rivers, Dwan Gallery (Los Angeles), Oversized Card, 1961. Size: 8.75 x 11.5 Inches
Claes Oldenburg, Dwan Gallery (Los Angeles), Poster, 1963. Size: 17 x 22 Inches
See more Dwan posters at Gallery 98’s special Dwan Gallery page.