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Eleanor Antin

My Kingdom Is the Right Size, from The King of Solana Beach

1974

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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, and the Nurse. 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.” The artist’s persona of the King, a symbol of masculine power, is decidedly gender ambiguous— with facial hair, men’s clothing, and developed breasts—calling into question established traditions of patriarchal privilege and authority. Antin subsequently created an hour-long performance piece, a monologue titled The Battle of the Bluffs, in which the King addresses the real gentrification of Solana Beach. In Antin’s quasi-humorous fable, the King is challenged by wealthy landowners who want to seize the royal forest for self-gain. The monologue is ultimately a rumination on power, ethical leadership, and ecological destruction. [Permanent Collection Label, 2023]

  • Artist Eleanor Antin (American, b. 1935)
  • Title My Kingdom Is the Right Size, from The King of Solana Beach
  • Date 1974
  • Medium Black-and-white photograph mounted on board
  • Dimensions unframed | 6 x 9 in.
  • Part of My Kingdom Is the Right Size, from The King of Solana Beach
  • Credit line University purchase, Art Acquisition Fund and Charles H. Yalem Art Fund, 2000
  • Object number WU 2000.0481.01 c
  • Currently on View James M. Kemper Gallery, Room 2

Women's Work, Arthur Greenberg Undergraduate Curatorial Fellowship exhibition
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 04/23/2021 - 08/01/2021

Humor, Irony, and Satire: Strategies of Critique in Modern Art and Culture
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 05/21/2010 - 07/18/2010

"How do we want to be governed? (Figure and Ground)"
Miami Art Central (Miami, Florida), 11/29/2004 - 01/30/2005

Within/Without: artists working with the collection
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 04/02/2004 - 04/18/2004

The American West: Selections from the Washington University Collection
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 01/03/2002 - 04/14/2002

(The World May Be) Fantastic: Biennale of Sydney 2002
Venue Unknown (Sydney, Australia), 05/15/2002 - 07/28/2002

Eleanor Antin: A Retrospective
Eleanor Antin: Real Time Streaming, Mead Gallery, Warwick University, 09/29/2001 - 12/01/2001
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 09/08/2000 - 11/12/2000

12/19/2000
Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York

Inscription LL: each photo is numbered 1-8 in accordance with its respective letter (ie: a=1) in pencil; LR of each: “EA “75”; UL: each object marked with respective letter, a-i

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