Acquisitions Switzerland

Prada buys Kienholz for Milan

The controversial work has been rarely shown

Ed Kienholz’s installation Five Car Stud, 1969-72 on view at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark (until 21 October)

The Fondazione Prada has bought Ed Kienholz’s installation Five Car Stud, 1969-72, for its permanent collection in Milan. The lifesize tableau depicts a barbaric racist attack in which five white men pin down and castrate a black man.

The acquisition marks the culmination of recent efforts to rehabilitate Five Car Stud, which had been in storage in Japan for almost 40 years. The work was first shown at Documenta 5 in 1972, and was then exhibited in Berlin and Düsseldorf before being acquired by a Japanese collector, who never displayed it.

Around seven years ago, LA Louver (2.0/D12) and the Pace Gallery (2.0/B20) formed a partnership with Nancy Reddin Kienholz, the artist’s collaborator and widow, to represent Japan’s Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art, which then owned the work. It was shown in the US for the first time last October, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and is now on display at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark (until 21 October).

Miuccia Prada says she is “glad to confirm the acquisition”, although she would not elaborate on plans for its installation.

“The timing could not be more poignant. This feels like the realisation of Ed’s vision,” says Lisa Jann, the managing director of LA Louver, which represents Kienholz and is showing The Potlatch, 1988, a collaboration with Reddin Kienholz, priced at $1.2m. “The foundation made a commitment before the exhibitions, and we’re thrilled. It will provide a contemporary context for the work, which is as relevant today as it was in 1972.”

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