In the late 1960s, Philip Guston experienced an artistic crisis: "I was feeling split, schizophrenic. The war, what was happening in America, the brutality of the world. What kind of man am I, sitting at home, reading magazines, going into a frustrated fury about everything—and then going into my studio to adjust a red to a blue."
Abstract Expressionism, his chosen style, no longer seemed adequate to the political and social unrest of the times. Abruptly, the artist began creating nightmarish, cartoonlike figurative work, repeatedly using hooded Klansmen figures to emblemize America’s violent and malevolent side.