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Modern & Contemporary
Modern & Contemporary

An important part of EPMA’s mission is to feature works from living artists across a range of media. The Contemporary collection is focused primarily on artists from Texas, the US/Mexico border region, and the Southwest. Among EPMA’s many works by artists with El Paso roots are James Drake’s 1989 sculptural installation Cinco de Mayo, Gaspar Enriquez’s 1992 multi-part painting Generations of Attitudes, and Luis Jiménez’s 1969–74 colorful fiberglass sculpture Barfly (Statue of Liberty).

EPMA’s Contemporary collection includes works by noteworthy photographers such as David Taylor’s 2009 The Great Plain (With Vehicle Barrier), Tohono O’odham Nation, and Teun Voeten’s 2012 Couple on a Motorcycle Watch a Crime Scene, Juárez. Newer acquisitions include Mexican artist Gabriel Orozco’s Lotus Leaves of 2014 and video installations Be Fruitful, 2016, by Asya Reznikov and El Norte, 2013, by Rebeca Méndez.

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Featured Work
Modern & Contemporary

Vincent Valdez

American, born in 1977
Pride of the Southside, 2005
Pastel on paper
El Paso Museum of Art, Purchase with funds provided by the Robert U. and Mabel O. Lipscomb Foundation Endowment
2011.12

This pastel is a favorite with visiting school groups attracted by its intense colors and subject matter. Vincent Valdez was born and raised in the Southside neighborhood of San Antonio, and much of his work is devoted to that community. The theme of the boxer dominated Valdez’s work between 2003 and 2005, and according to video interview, the artist was “Trying to tap into the idea of recreating the hero as representing the individual who persists through difficulties, not letting fear get in the way.” Valdez admits that ultimately the boxer began to be a type of self-portrait and Pride of the Southside suggests this aspect by setting the boxer in the artist’s boyhood community. The figure also expresses Valdez’s interest in portraying the tension of duality, in this case someone caught between surrender and hope.

Valdez began his art career at a young age, when he spent summers assisting San Antonio muralist Alex Rubio. He later earned a BFA at the Rhode Island School of Design on a full scholarship and was the youngest artist to receive a solo exhibition at the McNay Museum of Art. Valdez’s work has been shown at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, and the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, among others. His more recent works, The Strangest Fruit series (2013) and The City (2016) are more overtly political and explore racial tensions in America.