art basel   prada acquires edward kienholz's five car stud art basel   prada acquires edward kienholz's five car stud
jun 18, 2012

art basel prada acquires edward kienholz's five car stud

‘five car stud’ by edward kienholz, 1969-1972, revisited installation view image by tom vinetz via  

edward kienholz’s sculptural installation ‘five car stud’, started in 1969, completed in 1972 has been purchased by the fondazione prada for their milan-based collection of famous artworks at art basel 2012. the work was created as a rebellious and provocative piece in which the artist portrays issues of race relations during the united state’s civil rights era. the american artist’s controversial and rarely displayed work consists of several life-sized figures and mid-century cars arranged to depict a violent and brutal act of racism in which a black man is pinned down and castrated by five white men. in the sculptural installation, a darkened interior space is illuminated by the headlights of cars placed inwards and in a circle to highlight the masked white men’s attack upon the interracial couple. 

‘five car stud’ was first shown at documenta 5 in 1972 in kassel, germany, then traveling to berlin and düsseldorf. following these brief displays, the work was then acquired by a japanese collector who chose to keep the piece hidden away for almost forty years. aside from the los angeles county museum of art exhibition of the installation, having ended in early 2012 and the louisiana museum of modern art in denmark display, on view until the 21st of october, 2012, the inflammatory piece has been concealed from the public.

left top to left bottom (clockwise): (top left) view from above picturing the attacked man being castrated, image via  (right) one young white waits in one of the perpetrator’s vehicles, watching the violence from the safety of the car, image via  (bottom left) a closer perspective of the clown-like face belonging to one of the assailants, image via 

the visibly upset companion of the victim remains in their car image via 

two alternate views picturing two of the sculpted assailants images via 

wide perspective of one perpetrator of violence, exiting his vehicle with a rifle in hand image via 

‘five car stud’ by kienholz 1969-1972 collection of kawamura memorial dic museum of art, sakura, japan. courtesy of l.a. louver, venice, ca, and the pace gallery, new york image via 

left top to left bottom (clockwise): (top left) kienholz casting a model to make one of the figures in five car stud– the image is included in a documentation book for five car stud  (top right) noah kienholz, the artist’s son, casting his friend kirk to make the boy in five car stud  (bottom right) edward kienholz, ‘five car stud,’ 1969–72. © kienholz. collection of kawamura memorial museum of art, sakura, japan. courtesy of l.a. louver, venice, ca and the pace gallery, new york (bottom left) kienholz and his team installing ‘five car stud’ in the parking lot of gemini g.e.l. in los angeles.  all images © kienholz, photographs by john romeyn, bob bucknam, malcolm lublinder, and adam avila, 1971 via

  • I don’t think I’ve ever been so disturbed by a piece of artwork in my life.

    Brilliant. But incredibly moving and powerful.

    pb says:
  • A pity to keep such an emotive piece of work ‘in the cupboard’ for so long. One hesitates to say anything about the work for fear of insulting or upsetting the ‘general public’, but it is beautifully executed and staged and sends a strange swallowing sensation to the depths of ones throat that signals distaste, revulsion and fear at the same time. Obvious comments, maybe, but deeply felt nevertheless.

    mawdster says:
  • We are excited to see this story, however please be advised. Fondazione Prada’s commitment to the work preceded Art Basel (June 14-17, 2012). Rather, the work was first revealed to the public after a 40 year hiatus from public viewing at LACMA, where it was jointly presented with the Getty at LACMA’s Art of the Americas Building, September 4, 2011-January 15, 2012 in an exhibition titled “Edward Kienholz: Five Car Stud 1969-1972, Revisited.” From here, the exhibition traveled to Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark June 6, 2012 – October 21, 2012.

    L.A. Louver says:
  • A powerful piece of historical documentation art…visieral, tangible comment on the barbarism of racist America…

    michael magnotta says:

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