The statement “San Antonio, Texas, is Puro” is possibly a provocation. The seventh-largest and one of the fastest growing cities in the nation—San Antonio will grow by an estimated 1.4 million people in the next 25 years—is much more than one term can describe. But yet, Puro exemplifies something ubiquitous reflected in rituals, art, tastes, values, craftsmanship, aesthetics, and authenticity. It is a quintessential participation in civic life beyond its (current day) political and ideological divisions. Lawrence Wright argues “America’s Future is Texas.” He posits, “Texas is a distillation of the nation’s best qualities, though it also reflects our deep divisions.” Puro is an entrance into this conversation. Breaking free from the avantgardisms and meta-discursive narratives it sets terms and entry points representing those who are unable to sit at the table where decisions are made. As San Antonio strives for new definitions of the future, Puro transcends myopic histories and generating new vectors for action, aesthetics, generosity, equality, materiality, genuine debate, and public engagement.
Antonio Petrov and Vincent Valdez
Dr. Antonio Petrov is currently Assistant Professor at the University of Texas San Antonio and founder of the Urban Future Lab, a think and do tank at the University of Texas San Antonio. He is also founding editor of the Harvard GSD publication New Geographies, and founder and editor-in-chief of DOMA. He also served as the co-program director at Archeworks in Chicago and Caudill visiting critic at Rice University. He received his doctoral degree in the history and theory of architecture, urbanism, and cultural studies from Harvard University. Antonio has lectured extensively and his research on global urbanization, water, dwelling, infrastructure, and transportation has been published in journals like MONU, Manifest, MAS Context, and others. He edited the Harvard University Press published book series, New Geographies Volume 5 “The Mediterranean: Worlds, Regions, Cities, and Architectures” and is currently working on manuscripts titled, “On the Edge of Future: Narratives in the Making of a City” and “Superordinary,” a book that develops (architectural) parables illuminating new vectors of action, aesthetics, generosity, materiality, genuine debate, and engagement in architecture, forthcoming from Actar Publishers. Petrov taught architecture and urban design at Rice University, Harvard University, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, Iowa State University, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Technology. He is also a recipient of a Fulbright fellowship, and has received several other grants, fellowships, and won international prizes and competitions in architecture, planning, and design. urbanfuturelab.org
Vincent Valdez’s monumental portrayal of the contemporary figure remarks on a universal struggle within various socio-political arenas and eras. His work, he states, “is created to filter the present through the past. My aim is to incite public remembrance and to impede distorted realities like the social amnesia that surrounds me.” Exhibitions and Collections include: The Ford Foundation, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Blanton Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and The National Portrait Gallery, among others. He 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 residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting (2005), the Vermont Studio Center (2011) and the Künstlerhaus Bethania Berlin Residency (2014). Valdez currently lives and works in Houston. He is represented by David Shelton Gallery.