John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres

Ahearn b. 1951, Binghamton, NY, Lives and works in Harlem, NY; Torres b. 1960, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, Lives and works in Orlando, FL

"The artists thrive on the power of their subjects—their pride, wit, vulnerability, determination, and individuality." — Hilton Als



Walton Ave & Friends
Salon 94 89th Street

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres

Swagger and Tenderness: The South Bronx Portraits
The Bronx Museum

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres


From left: John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres. Photo by Argenis Apolinario.

John Ahearn (b. 1951, Binghamton, NY; lives and works in Bronx, New York) and Rigoberto Torres (b. 1960, Aquadilla, Puerto Rico; lives and works in Orlando, Florida) have produced life-cast sculpted portraits and scenes of the South Bronx community for nearly four decades. Their cerebral busts, dynamic relief murals, and freestanding figures express the modest nobility and emotional fervor of their subjects’ lives and interior selves in painted plaster, bronze, and fiberglass. Since the late 1970s, they have collaborated on local and international projects, from The South Bronx Hall of Fame busts made while at Fashion Moda in 1979, to more recent public commissions in New York, Brazil, Taiwan, and Puerto Rico. They also maintain distinct practices in addition to their collaborative projects.

Ahearn and Torres’ collaborative work has been the subject of numerous two-person exhibitions, including Swagger & Tenderness: The South Bronx Portraits of John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York, in 2022; and Automatic for the People: John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres, Aljira Center for Contemporary Art, Newark, New Jersey, in 2010. Their South Bronx Hall of Fame works were the subject of a special presentation at Frieze Projects, New York, curated by Cecilia Alemani, in 2012. From 1991-1992, their work was the subject of a major traveling exhibition, The South Bronx Hall of Fame: Sculpture by John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres, which travelled from the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas, to Witte de With, Rotterdam, Netherlands, to the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Recent group exhibitions include City as Studio, K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong, in 2022; East Village, New York City, Seoul Museum of Art, South Korea, in 2018; Club 57: Film, Performance, and Art in the East Village, 1978–1983, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 2017; Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and The Body, The Met Breuer, New York, in 2018; and Greater New York, MoMA PS1, New York, in 2016.

Their collaborative and individual work has been collected by numerous public museums, including The Art Institute of Chicago; The Broad, Los Angeles; The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among many others.



John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres’s Portraits of the South Bronx
Hilton Als

The New Yorker

Artists Revisit Their Bronx Walls of Fame
Travis Diehl

The New York Times

‘Over time you become family’: the intimacy of lifecasting
Veronica Esposito

The Guardian

An Artistic Partnership Reunites in the Bronx
David Gonzalez

The New York Times

Face Time at Frieze
Phoebe Hoban

Art in America

Captured in Time (and Plaster) and Reborn as Art
David Gonzalez

The New York Times

Whose Art Is It?
Jane Kramer

The New Yorker