Skip to main content

Ed Kienholz - Five Car Stud

6.6.2012 - 21.10.2012

Five Car Stud is rebellious, provocative and physically insistent. Its relevance potent it reaches back to America’s historical roots and reflects current violence committed to the individual by the mob, be it for political, ethnic, religious or sexual reasons.

It is a very special opportunity for Louisiana Museum of Modern Art to be able to show this installation. The preparations towards the presentation of this one work and its showing have been going on for more than two years. In October 2011 the installation was shown at LACMA, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as the American leg of the tour before its departure for Europe.

The work of Kienholz has been re-assessed in recent years, not least through the gaze of contemporary art. This has brought about a great interest in Five Car Stud,since it reappeared in 2009 – after having been 'gone' for almost 40 years – from the storage of the Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art in Japan and was restored under the supervision of Kienholz’ widow, artist Nancy Redding Kienholz. 

English translation unavailable for ed kienholz video.

An explosive and shocking experience

When Kienholz created the piece, installation art was not part of art terminology. Hence Five Car Studis an early, striking example of an expanded artistic aproach in which the spectator is not only viewing the object of art but is drawn into it as a participant. In this case a shocking experience, as the scenario shows a number of white men lynching a black man in a frightening, dramatic set-up.

Originally, attempts to exhibit Five Car Stud at the end of the 1960s at Los Angeles County Museum of Art in what was then Kienholz’ home town were unsuccessful; instead the work was shown at the legendary Documenta V exhibition in Kassel in Germany in 1972 where it was a sensation. The  the reception in Kassel, and the disappointment with what Kienholz saw as a lack of courage in American society  to confront and tackle very serious social and ethnic conflicts, prompted him to move to Europe. Now – after all these years – the work is at Louisiana which has a long history with Kienholz. Three of his works are in the museum collection and the museum showed a major exhibition of his works in 1979. Therefore it is only natural for Louisiana to help ensure the work a well-deserved transatlantic renaissance.

David Lynch is making a documentary about Kienholz and says: “I love Ed Keinholz! Five Car Stud is one of his masterpieces – it may be his greatest masterpiece. Seeing and experiencing Five Car Stud is like seeing and experiencing a live hand grenade up close. It is incredibly powerful and says so much. Do not miss this opportunity to see Five Car Stud, so get going".

International catalogue

In reference to the presentations in America and Europe, Louisiana has published an international catalogue, a classic study of one work with texts by German art historian and critic Roberto Ohrt, American professor Thomas McEvilley, an interview with artist Paul McCarthy and a facsimile reprint of Kienholz’ legendary Sawdy Book.



"Very few art pieces leave an imprint so on does not forget the first-hand impression. That's how I feel about Kienholz' Five Car Stud..."


"A common image of what heart of darknes looks like."


"The piece is from 1972, but still equally fantastic."


" of visciousness...indisputably world class art."