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Vincent Valdez’s City I (2016) is a monumental, multi-panel painting that depicts a group of men, women, and children in Ku Klux Klan garb on a bluff overlooking a glowing metropolis at night. The grisaille palette gives the painting a cinematic and historic feeling, and suggests that it was based on a historical photograph, but details such as a cell phone, beer cans, and a Chevy truck place the scene clearly in the present day. As the Texas artist explains: “I think many of us make the mistake of thinking, these are those people in far removed communities removed from the rest of society; these are uneducated people. And we are seeing that. The timing of this work couldn’t be more urgent.”

Organized by Veronica Roberts, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Blanton Museum

Read more: New York Times, “An All-American Family Portrait, in White

Image credit:
Vincent Valdez, The City II, 2016
oil on canvas, 74 x 90 in.
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Purchase through the generosity of Guillermo C. Nicolas and James C. Foster in honor of Jeanne and Michael Klein, with additional support from Jeanne and Michael Klein and Ellen Susman in honor of Jeanne and Michael Klein, 2017