Artwork Detail

My Kingdom Is the Right Size, from The King of Solana Beach
American, b. 1935
Eight black-and-white photographs mounted on board and one text panel
6 x 9 "
University purchase, Art Acquisition Fund and Charles H. Yalem Art Fund, 2000
WU 2000.0481.01 i
An early practitioner of performance and feminist art in the late 1960s and 1970s, Eleanor Antin employed her own body to create a series of personae based on iconic figures: the king, the ballerina, the nurse, and the black movie star. For each character the artist outfitted herself with elaborate costumes and assumed distinct affects, all with the aim of confounding fixed notions of gender, class, and race, revealing these categories to be socially constructed rather than objective or innate. Acting in the noble, entitled manner she imagined a king would, for her performance as “the king” Antin wandered the streets of Solana Beach, north of San Diego, conversing with her “subjects.” With some she assumed an air of formality and chivalry, while with others she interacted more familiarly. In addition to performing these coded gestures, the artist’s persona of the king, a symbol of male power, is decidedly gender ambiguous; he wears facial hair and men’s clothes but also has breasts, calling into question established traditions of patriarchal privilege and authority. [Permanent collection label, 2016]