A tribute to the Bronx’s diversity

Andrea Rodés writes about an exhibit at the Bronx Museum of the Arts that features the sculptures of John Ahearn and Puerto Rican artist Rigoberto Torres, “inspired in the vibrant community of the neighborhood” for Al Día.  [Also see our previous post, Swagger and Tenderness.”]

In 1979, sculptor John Ahearn began making lifecast sculptures (putting molds onto live subjects) which were later exhibited at Fashion Moda, an art space in the Bronx. His art captivated the attention of Rigoberto Torres, then a 17-year-old Puerto Rican transplant who worked at a religious statuary factory.  After their first encounter, they started a 40-year long artistic collaboration which can now be seen at the exhibition “Swagger and Tenderness: The South Bronx Portraits by John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres,” at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. 

“I was just looking for something that I could do instead of working in a factory, which wasn’t satisfying,” Torres told The Guardian. “I enjoyed meeting the people I lifecasted — it’s complicated at first, but then over time you become family.”

Inspired and enabled by the people who live in the vibrant community surrounding the Bronx Museum, Ahearn and Torres’ sculptures have been honoring Bronxites for four decades, but this is the first time a large group of these artworks are exhibited together at home for the very people represented. This major survey exhibition — over 60 portraits alongside archival materials from 1979 to the present —  mirrors the creative and loving residents of the South Bronx whose personal stories and innovative aesthetics both reflect and shape culture on a global scale. 

For original article, see https://aldianews.com/en/culture/heritage-and-history/sculpting-bronx-diversity

[Shown above: John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres, “Maria Greeting Her Mother,” 1987, oil on cast fiberglass. Courtesy of the artists.]

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