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Margaret Moore Booker

(b El Paso, TX, Jul 30, 1940; d Hondo, NM, Jun 13, 2006).

Hispanic American sculptor and printmaker. He specialized in larger-than-life, vibrantly colored, fiberglass, and epoxy sculptures that celebrate humanity and reflect his Mexican American heritage. He was also an accomplished printmaker (lithographs and etchings) and draftsman (colored-pencil drawings). As the “Godfather” of Chicano art, the artist of working-class people and mentor to numerous Hispanic artists, he played an important role in bringing Chicano sensibilities into mainstream art.

Born the son of an illegal immigrant, Jiménez grew up in El Paso, TX, where he learned to weld, wire, and airbrush in his father’s neon-sign shop. After receiving a BFA in 1964 at the University of Texas at Austin, and a brief stay in Mexico City, he moved to New York City where he worked with Seymour Lipton (1903–1986) and found success parodying 1960s American pop culture in his work.

In the early 1970s he returned to the Southwest (eventually dividing his time between El Paso and Hondo, NM), where he gained success and controversy as a sculptor of outdoor figures. Drawing inspiration from the social realist Mexican and Works Progress Administration (WPA) murals, he combined large scale, color, and pose to create a dramatic and heroic effect in his work. Like the New Mexican ...

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Deborah Cullen

(Robert)

(b Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, 1960).

Puerto Rican sculptor, active in the USA. Torres created plaster and fiberglass casts from life, depicting people in their communities. These include portrait busts, figurative tableaux, freestanding figures, and major outdoor murals. Torres worked both independently and in collaboration with John Ahearn (b 1951), with whom he regularly partnered from 1980.

When Torres was 4, his family moved to upper Manhattan and then to the Bronx. Torres began his art practice in 1979 at age 18 while working in a family factory casting religious statues. He visited Fashion Moda, an alternative space in the South Bronx. There, he met John Ahearn, who was making plaster body casts of neighborhood people. Torres became one of Ahearn’s subjects, and Torres’s first heads were cast there and exhibited alongside Ahearn’s. Torres convinced Ahearn to move to Walton Avenue in 1980, where they worked closely with the community. That year they participated in the historic Times Square Show. Between ...