The Un-Private Collection: John Ahearn + Rigoberto Torres + Joe Lewis
In this edition of The Un-Private Collection conversation series, artists John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres will speak with moderator Joe Lewis about the cornerstone of community and its influence on their practice and careers, including their early work at Fashion Moda, the South Bronx gallery co-founded by Lewis in 1978.
Fashion Moda operated outside the traditional art gallery district emerging in Soho at the time. The venue provided a platform for exchanges between downtown Manhattan artists, graffiti writers, and Bronx residents, encouraging the production of creative art unhampered by the contemporary art market and academic art training.
The conversation is presented concurrently with The Broad’s installation of Ahearn’s and Torres's work in our third-floor collection galleries, as well as their artist residency at Charlie James Gallery in Los Angeles and their exhibition Swagger and Tenderness: The South Bronx Portraits at The Bronx Museum—which has received critical acclaim in the New York Times, The New Yorker and Hyperallergic.
Please note that there will be a pre-program tour of Ahearn's and Torres's work in our third floor galleries at 1:30 p.m.
The program will be livestreamed on The Broad website, as well as on @TheBroadMuseum Facebook page.
ASL interpreters provided by Pro Bono ASL
Tickets include same-day access to the special exhibition William Kentridge: In Praise of Shadows and the third floor galleries, where works by John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres are installed during operating hours. Access to Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrored Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away (2013) is not included and must be booked separately here.
For information on our current health and safety policies, visit Know Before You Go & FAQ. Visitor policies are subject to changeGET TICKETS
John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres
John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres are known internationally for their straightforward and intimate portraits of neighbors of their South Bronx community—the very people they engage in their daily lives. The sculptures capture the personality of their subjects while conveying a strong sense of place. The two first began working together at Fashion Moda in 1979 with the "South Bronx Hall of Fame" project. Ahearn was inspired by the 1950s Mosaic Murals at the University of Mexico, the fiberglass "horror" figures at Coney Island, and provincial Catholic church plaster icons. Torres had worked in his uncle Raul's Bronx statuary factory, where his family produced inexpensive painted plasters for local homes and Botanicas. During the 1980s the artists conducted neighborhood life casting workshops and created several permanent fiberglass murals featuring local residents. Since then, Ahearn and Torres have created sculpture murals in the United States (Baltimore, Maryland and Puerto Rico), the Netherlands, Taiwan, and Brazil. Recently they have installed many public sculptures in the Bronx and in Florida. John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres are represented in the Broad collection by nine artworks and are favorites among the museum's visitors. There are currently four artworks on view in The Broad's third floor collection galleries.
Joe Lewis is a nationally known artist and educator. He is a Professor of Art at the University of California, Irvine, President of the Noah Purifoy Foundation, and the Co-Founding Director of Fashion Moda, an artist-run space in the South Bronx, New York, where he worked with John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres. A frequent exhibitor with recent solo shows at the James Fuentes Gallery and WallWorks, New York, Lewis is in notable collections including Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Deutsche Bank, and Museum of Modern Art, NY. Lewis has written for Art in America, Artforum, and the Brooklyn Rail. Recent curatorial and publication projects include Charles McGill: In the Rough, mounted at the Sarasota Museum of Art in 2021; "The Changing of the Guard," an introduction to Jules Allen's latest book, The Hats & Hat Nots, QCC Gallery, NY, 2022; and "Different Natures," an essay for Punch Outs, Photography by George Haas, Metagroup, Los Angeles, 2022.
About The Un-Private Collection
The Un-Private Collection is an ongoing series of public programs The Broad began in September 2013. The series introduces audiences to the museum’s 2,000-work contemporary art collection by showcasing stories behind the collection, the collectors and the artists. Since launching the program, The Broad has brought together a variety of artists whose works are in the Broad collection in conversation with cultural leaders, including Mark Bradford with Katy Siegel, Shirin Neshat with Christy MacLear, Jeff Koons with John Waters, Takashi Murakami with Pico Iyer, Eric Fischl with Steve Martin, John Currin with James Cuno, Kara Walker with Ava DuVernay and architect Elizabeth Diller with Eli Broad, Joanne Heyler and Paul Goldberger. Talks have been held at venues throughout Los Angeles, making the programming available to audiences across the city. Conversations are live-streamed and full videos of past talks are available online. The Un-Private Collection series is part of the Broad collection’s 30-year mission to make contemporary art accessible to the widest possible audience.Read More
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