Art Institute, Chicago, IL





 T 213 395 0762




Luis De Jesus Los Angeles congratulates

Ken Gonzales-Day on the accession of The Erased Lynchings

by The Art Institute of Chicago


Ken Gonzales-Day, Erased Lynchings I, 2006 (printed 2007)

Erased Lynching Series, 2002-present, Edition 6 of 6

Archival inkjet on rag paper mounted on cardstock

Each print approximately 4 x 6 in (10.2 x 15.2 cm)




Luis De Jesus Los Angeles is very pleased to announce The Art Institute of Chicago’s accession of Ken Gonzales-Day’s Erased Lynchings I, 2006, into the permanent collection. The gallery extends its most sincere thanks and gratitude to David Berten, Esq, Chicago; Michael Witkovsky, Chief Curator of Photography; James Rondeau, President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute of Chicago; Barbara Diener, Collection Manager, and the entire team in the Department of Photography and Media.

“Part of Gonzales-Day’s evocative Erased Lynching series, these digitally altered archival images from the late 19th and early 20th centuries will find resonance with other works in our collection that similarly explore themes of racial violence throughout the history of the United States. Museum visitors will benefit from this important contribution for generations to come, and I am tremendously grateful.” — James Rondeau, President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute of Chicago

The Erased Lynchings series (2002-ongoing) began with a focus on the history of lynching in California and has brought new scholarship and awareness to the history of lynching nationwide. The research specifically expanded the number of known cases in California, and the work now includes the lynching of African Americans, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, and Jews, in the American West and nationwide.

Ken Gonzales-Day, Disguised Bandit, Unidentified Latino along US/Mexico Border, 2006 (printed 2007). Erased Lynchings I Series, 2002-present.

The imagery in the initial series of Erased Lynchings derived from appropriated lynching postcards that were originally shared among the general public and other archival source materials from which Gonzales-Day meticulously removed victims and ropes. This conceptual gesture redirects the viewer’s attention away from the lifeless body of the victim and towards the mechanisms of lynching and spectacle, the formal aspects of lynching photography, including the role of the photographer and the impact of flash photography, and finally towards the group of spectators, a document of active and passive participants in each lynching.

As an artistic gesture, these absences or empty spaces become emblematic of a forgotten history—made all the more palpable in light of our expanding understanding of America’s history of lynching. The project is documented in Gonzales-Day’s first monograph, the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Lynching in the West: 1850-1935 (Duke University Press, 2006).  Read more about the Erased Lynchings series


Ken Gonzales-Day, This is what he got, 2006 (printed 2007). Erased Lynchings I Series, 2002-present.

Ken Gonzales-Day’s interdisciplinary and conceptually grounded photographic projects consider the history of photography, the construction of race, and the limits of representational systems. Gonzales-Day has received awards from the California Community Foundation, COLA (City of Los Angeles) Individual Artist Fellowship, Creative Capital, and Art Matters. Fellowships include The Rockefeller Foundation in Bellagio, Italy; The Terra Foundation in Giverny; The Getty Research Institute; Smithsonian SARF and SAAM Fellowships; and the Guggenheim Fellowship in Photography in 2017. Gonzales-Day holds the Fletcher Jones Chair in Art at Scripps College. In 2018, he was the subject of a solo exhibition, UnSeen: Our Past in a New Light, at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Gonzales-Day’s work can be found in prominent collections, including: J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Norton Museum of Art, Palm Beach, FL; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, CA; George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; Minnesota Museum of American Art, St. Paul, MN; The Block Museum, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL; Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI; Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH; Williamson Gallery, Scripps College, Claremont, CA; Middlebury College Museum of Art, Middlebury, VT; Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; L’Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris; Musee National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris; Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College, Claremont, CA; Eileen Norton Harris Foundation, Los Angeles; 21C Museum Hotel, Louisville, KY; City of Los Angeles; and Metropolitan Transit Authority, Los Angeles, among others.

Ken Gonzales-Day was born 1964 in Santa Clara, CA. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

For further information, including images, please call 213-395-0762, or email: