Kienholz – “The Signs of the Times” & “Five Car Stud”

Posted October 31st, 2011

Germany, Shows, Videos

Rebellious, provocative, and ever polarizing, Kienholz’s oeuvre has always caused quite a stir since its beginnings in the mid-1950s, first the works of Ed Kienholz alone, then later, from 1972 on, the collaborative projects with his wife, Nancy Reddin Kienholz. This is scarcely astonishing, since religion, war, death, and the more inscrutable sides of society and its social conflicts have always been at the center of their works. Dealing with such subjects as the sexual exploitation of women in prostitution, the role of the media, and the effects of ethnic conflicts,they pinpoint fractures of Western societies which have hardly been remedied to this day and thus lend the oeuvre its unmitigated topicality.

But this contemporaneity is not due solely to the themes dealt with; today we view the works as anticipating central trends in contemporary art: Jonathan Meese, Thomas Hirschhorn, and even John Bock. Since the major retrospective in New York, Los Angeles, and Berlin in 1996, the exhibition at the Schirn will be the first to show a series of the spectacular “moral tableaus” together with the impressive smaller sculptures.

Until 29. January 2012 at the SCHIRNKUNSTHALLE in Frankfurt
Curator: Martina Weinhart

Here is another version with german subtitles (Deutsche Untertitel).

PST revisits Ed Kienholz’s ‘Five Card Stud’ at LACMA

Visit Nancy Reddin Kienholz as she discusses her late husband Ed Kienholz’s work from 1972 entitled “Five Car Stud”, now on view at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) 04 September 2011 – 15 January 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.

Nancy Kienholz on Five Car Stud

Nancy Kienholz talks about Five Car Stud, which she spent several years restoring prior to the exhibition at LACMA.

Singular Visions: Edward Kienholz, The Wait, 1964-65

In this video, curator Dana Miller discusses the Whitney Museum’s care and handling of Peetie, the live bird included in Edward Kienholz’ installation “The Wait” (1964-65), on view in the exhibition “Singular Visions.”

Ed Kienholz and Nancy Reddin Kienholz, Useful Art #5: The Western Hotel, 1992

(Portland Art Museum)
Speakers: Tina Olsen, Bruce Guenther