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Terra Foundation Lecture on American Art: Lawrence Weschler, "A Harrowing Masterpiece"

In the late 1960s, celebrated American artist Edward Kienholz took on arguably his most fraught subject to date—the toxic legacy of race relations in America. Five Car Stud was as ambitious as it was gruesome. Lawrence Weschler discusses both Five Car Stud and its historical political backdrop, suggesting that it might be one of the most charged and revelatory works of the past half century of American art.

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In the late 1960s, celebrated American artist Edward Kienholz took on arguably his most fraught subject to date—the toxic legacy of race relations in America. Five Car Stud was as ambitious as it was gruesome. A life-size tableau, it depicted four automobiles and a pickup truck, their headlights revealing a shocking act of violence. Too controversial to be exhibited in the United States at the time, the work was shown at the 1972 Documenta in Kassel, Germany. Shortly thereafter, it was sold into a Japanese collection, whereupon it languished in a warehouse for nearly 40 years. It has only just resurfaced.

CHF Artistic Director Emeritus Lawrence Weschler, longtime friend of the late artist, discusses both Five Car Stud and its historical political backdrop, suggesting that it might be one of the most charged and revelatory works of the past half century of American art.

This lecture is one of three 2012 Chicago Humanities Festival programs generously sponsored by the Terra Foundation for American Art. The Terra Foundation is dedicated to fostering the exploration, understanding, and enjoyment of the visual arts in the United States for national and international audiences. This program is presented in partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

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Recorded Saturday, November 10, 2012 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

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