The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
In the first half of this essay, American curator Dan Cameron considers the unexplored relationship between Puerto Rican-born artist Rigoberto Torres and American sculptor John Ahearn. In the past, the author declares, Torres’s artistry had been seen as nothing more than the result of Ahearn’s tutelage when, in fact, it was the influence that both artists had on each other that ought to be highlighted. Furthermore, Cameron stresses that as a resident of the South Bronx, Torres assumed the role of cultural broker between him, Ahearn, and the people that served as inspiration for their sculptures. The second half of the article is dedicated to an analysis of Torres’s works, his current motifs, and his technique.
Born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, in 1960, Rigoberto Torres moved to New York when he was four years old. He is known as an artist whose work has drawn its inspiration from the Bronx community. He is seen and collected throughout the world. Torres’ life-size figurative sculptures are rooted in a celebration of daily life in the South Bronx neighborhood where he grew up. His life casts have been described as “humanistic naturalism” because of the empathetic studies of real people. The street events he also organizes lend the work an element of performance art, and create a bond between the artist and his audience. His large-scale public murals, done in collaboration with John Ahearn, have been part of the Bronx landscape for over twenty years.