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Guston had included sinister images of the Ku Klux Klan in his early murals, one of which was shot at and destroyed by Klan supporters when first shown. In the 1960s he returned to figurative painting and reintroduced the hooded Klansmen to his work. Guston meant his paintings to be interpreted in the light of the political violence of the decade, but he also saw the Klan paintings as ironic self-portraits: 'The idea of evil fascinated me¿I almost tried to imagine that I was living with the Klan. What would it be like to be evil? To plan, to plot.'

August 2004