Edward Kienholz: Five Car Stud 1969–1972, Revisited

Jointly presented by LACMA and the Getty at LACMA's Art of the Americas Building, Level 2
September 4, 2011–January 15, 2012

Edward Kienholz’s Five Car Stud (1969–72) is a powerful work that depicts the hatred many white Americans expressed toward racial minorities and interracial partnerships in the not-too-distant-past; it stands as Kienholz’s major civil rights work. In this horrifying life-size tableau, four automobiles and a pickup truck are arranged on a dirt floor in a dark room with their headlights illuminating a shocking scene: a group of white men exacting their gruesome “punishment” on an African American man whom they have discovered drinking with a white woman. Commenting on the work and its theme of racial oppression, Kienholz said at the time, “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 and has since remained in storage in Japan for almost forty years. This is its first public showing in the United States. Please note that this work contains images of explicit violence and nudity.

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This presentation is organized by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark and is jointly presented in Los Angeles by the Getty Research Institute and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, with support from the Getty Foundation.

Pacific Standard Time is an unprecedented collaboration of more than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California, coming together to tell the story of the birth of the LA art scene. Initiated through grants from the Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time will take place for six months beginning October 2011. Sponsors

Image: Edward Kienholz, Five Car Stud 1969–1972, Revisited, Photography by Tom Vinetz. © Kienholz. Collection of Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art, Sakura, Japan. Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA and The Pace Gallery, New York.

Five Car Stud, 1969–72
Edward Kienholz
Kienholz casting a model to make one of the figures in Five Car Stud
© Kienholz, photographs by John Romeyn, Bob Bucknam, Malcolm Lublinder, and Adam Avila1971
Kienholz and his team installing Five Car Stud in the parking lot of Gemini G.E.L. in Los Angeles
© Kienholz, photographs by John Romeyn, Bob Bucknam, Malcolm Lublinder, and Adam Avila
Noah Kienholz, the artist’s son, casting his friend Kirk to make the boy in Five Car Stud
© Kienholz, photographs by John Romeyn, Bob Bucknam, Malcolm Lublinder, and Adam Avila

Cast by Kienholz: An Interview with Keith Berwick

In 1971, television host Keith Berwick interviewed Edward Kienholz at the artist’s studio during the making of Five Car Stud. During the interview, Kienholz made a plaster cast of Berwick’s body to be used as one of the figures in the artwork. I recently I had the chance to talk with Berwick to learn more about his experience...

Kienholz on Exhibit, 1969

This 1969 film by June Steel consists of audience reactions to a Kienholz exhibit at LACMA, which includes his well-known pieces ‘"The Birthday’, ‘Back Seat Dodge’, and ‘Roxy's’. More about the film.