Skip to main content
no image

Eleanor Antin

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


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]

This artwork record may be incomplete or need refinement. Our staff actively researches the collection and revises records when new information is available. If you have questions or comments about this record, please contact us.