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McNay Art Museum acquires painting by Vincent Valdez
Vincent Valdez, The Strangest Fruit 9, 96 x 138.

SAN ANTONIO, TX.- The McNay Art Museum announces the addition of Vincent Valdez’s The Strangest Fruit 9 to its collection. The painting is part of the artist’s The Strangest Fruit series featuring large-format oil paintings. The series takes its title from the 1937 poem, Strange Fruit by Abel Meeropool, made popular through a song by Billie Holiday in 1939. The original text addressed the hanging of black Americans; for his series, Valdez adapted the poem to reference the obscured history of Mexican American lynchings from the late 1800s to the 1930s.

“It's a rare yet powerful moment when a work of art comes our way that is equally beautiful and political,” says McNay Director Richard Aste. “Vincent's iconic The Strangest Fruit series does both, and well. He reminds us here that it's not an either/or situation; there's room for both in today's art museums. The McNay is the perfect home for this arresting tour de force.” Valdez creates ultra-realistic and technically accomplished depictions of modern day Latinos suspended in the air as a politically charged and socially conscious commentary on historical and contemporary persecution and oppression of Latinos in the United States. The McNay’s new painting depicts two life-sized male figures suspended against a vast white background.

Vincent Valdez’s painting is at home at the McNay, as the museum has organized a number of exhibitions featuring and including his work since 2004. René Paul Barilleaux, Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art, comments, “The McNay has had the opportunity to present the art of Vincent Valdez in exhibition format on several prior occasions, as well as has acquired works on paper for the collection. The acquisition of this major canvas not only reinforces the museum’s commitment to the work of this artist, but also deepens the McNay’s support of artists emerging from within our own community. Currently installed in the Stieren Center for Exhibitions, the painting has already captivated viewers and is certain to be an audience favorite.”

Born in San Antonio, Texas in 1977, Vincent Valdez focuses on the practice of drawing and painting. Recognized for his intensive devotion to skill and detail, Valdez’s portrayal of the contemporary figure remarks on a universal struggle within various sociopolitical arenas and eras.

Valdez received a full scholarship to The Rhode Island School of Design, where he earned his BFA in 2000. A recipient of The Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant for Painters and Sculptors (2016), as well as res- idencies at the Joan Mitchell Center (upcoming, 2017), Skowhegan School of Painting (2005), The Vermont Studio Center (2011), and the Kunstlerhaus Bethania Berlin Residency (2014), Valdez currently lives and works in Houston.

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