Texas museum unveils racially provocative painting today after two-years of planning

By Michael Hardy
Vincent Valdez’s “The City I,” at the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Tex., depicts a modern-day Ku Klux Klan gathering. Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times
AUSTIN, Tex. — The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin knew it had a painting on its hands that required sensitivity: a 30-foot-wide panorama by the Houston-based artist Vincent Valdez that imagined a modern-day Ku Klux Klan gathering. And a string of recent art-world controversies had emphasized the need for such curatorial caution.  So after acquiring Mr. Valdez’s four-panel painting in 2016, the Blanton spent two years preparing for the work’s public debut on July 17. To display the painting, the curators had a special gallery built with a sign warning that the work “may elicit strong emotions.” Such warnings are relatively rare. [More]
The artist in his studio, with "The City I" in summer 2016 (Photography courtesy Zeke Peña)