Art

Your Next Art Acquisition: This $2.5M Taxidermy-Stuffed Cadillac

The artists used to drive it around. You could too.

Automotive artwork at the Armory Show
"The Caddy Court" (1986–87)
Photography by Delfino Sisto Studio, courtesy of Fondazione Prada.
By Alex Lauer / March 5, 2020 7:27 am

When I say “car sculpture,” what comes to mind? Probably the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, possibly Nevada’s International Car Forest, or maybe, if you’re working in a higher income bracket, the Ferrari 250 GTO.

What probably isn’t top of mind is The Caddy Court, an artwork by the late Edward and Nancy Kienholz made out of a Cadillac that is not only the talk of The Armory Show in New York City, but up for sale for $2.5 million. But as Artsy makes abundantly clear, take one look inside this Caddy and you’re not likely to forget it. 

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.

Here’s the inside:

The Caddy Court by Kienholz
Meet the U.S. Supreme Court.
Photography by Delfino Sisto Studio, courtesy of Fondazione Prada

As Artsy notes, the Kienholz’s The Caddy Court is located in the Town Square of the prestigious art fair, acting as “a literal centerpiece.” That decision may seem to draw from its imposing figure, as well as the provocative imagery both inside and out, but the artwork’s oddly modern commentary is equally important.

“It asks tough questions about the state of American democracy and what kind of country we want to live in,” curator Anne Ellegood told Artsy.

As for the most important question — can you drive it? — the answer is unequivocally yes. According to Artsy, the Kienholzes drove it from exhibition to exhibition, and pedal was once again put to the metal to get the piece onto Pier 94 on Manhattan’s west side, where it is being exhibited through Sunday.

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