PST revisits Ed Kienholz's 'Five Card Stud' at LACMA [video]
"It's a very difficult piece to work with," Nancy Reddin Kienholz said of her late husband Ed Kienholz's installation "Five Car Stud," now at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art as part of Pacific Standard Time. "It's a cruel piece. It's a piece about things in our society that we would hope were not there but I think that are still there."
"I have to say I've never forgotten the feeling of seeing the piece in '72," added LACMA curator Stephanie Barron, who encountered it when it was shown for the first time in the Documenta 5 exhibition in Kassel, Germany.
It would be hard for anyone to forget it: The tableau installation depicts a circle of white men castrating a sole black man, in front of a child and woman. The scene is illuminated by the headlights of five circled automobiles.
But "Five Car Stud" hasn't been exhibited since. It was acquired by a Japanese collector and spent more than three decades in the vaults of a museum the collector founded.
Andrew Perchuck, the deputy director of the Getty Research Institute, thought it was important to include the work in the Getty's Pacific Standard Time initiative, "which looks back on the era when Kienholz was such a major figure ... though rarely seen, it's one of his great tableaux."