Five Car Stud (1969-72)
Ed Kienholz’s Five Car Stud (1969–72) is a powerful work that depicts the hatred many Americans expressed toward racial minorities and interracial partnerships; it stands as Kienholz’s major civil rights work. This life-size tableau depicts a brutal attack in which an African American man is surrounded by six white captors, who are engaged in an act of extraordinary violence; his vehicle is surrounded by the parked cars of his captors. Kienholz thought of the work as “symbolic of minority strivings in the world today,” adding, “one thing has been established for sure: if six to one is unfair odds in my tableau, then 170 million to 20 million is sure as hell unfair odds in my country.” Although our society increasingly considers itself postracial, Five Car Stud is a harsh reminder of a shameful part of our history whose traces still linger. It was seen only in Germany in 1972 at documenta 5, and has since remained in storage in Japan for almost forty years. This is its first public showing in the United States. Although an invented scene, this work still retains its potency forty years after its creation. Acquired in 1976 by a Japanese company, the tableau has been in storage ever since. Recently, Five Car Stud was restored in Hope, Idaho, by the artist’s widow and collaborator,
Nancy Reddin Kienholz.
Collection of Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art, Sakura, Japan. Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, California, and The Pace Gallery, New York © Ed Kienholz: Five Car Stud (1969-72) Revisited
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
Edward Kienholz: Five Car Stud 1969 - 1972, RevisitedEd Kienholz's Five Card Stud, created for Documenta 5 in 1972, has never been seen publicly in the United States. This life-size tableaux depicts a black man caught drinking at night in his pick-up truck with a white woman; his vehicle has been surrounded and trapped by the parked cars of his six white captors. Kienholz thought of Five Car Stud as 'symbolic of minority strivings in the world today.' Though an invented scene, this work retains its potency forty years after its creation.
Los Angeles, CA 90036