When Ed and Nancy met in the early 1970s, they began working as a team, sharing a similarly bleak and enlightening vision of the 20th century. The Caddy Court was one of their collaborative works. If it lacks the sheer brutality of Five Car Stud, it’s still a challenging, raw, and consciously ugly spectacle.
“The Caddy Court is quite large, incredibly detailed, and both seductive and repugnant in its form and material choice,” said Anne Ellegood, curator of The Armory Show’s Platform selection, of which the work will be a part. “It asks tough questions about the state of American democracy and what kind of country we want to live in.”
To make the sculpture’s main structure, a 1966 Dodge van was welded into the middle of a 1978 Cadillac. Inside the resulting Frankenstein-style vehicle, there’s a haunting scene intended to evoke a bizarro version of the U.S. Supreme Court—the justices reimagined as animals, including a ram and a bear.
When the installation was created, Sandra Day O’Connor sat on the Supreme Court, the first woman in history to do so. The Kienholzes acknowledged her presence by adding a red high-heeled shoe beneath one of the taxidermied figures. (O’Connor, if you’re wondering, is represented as a coyote.)