June 7—October 21, 2017
James Fuentes is pleased to present a solo exhibition of John Ahearn portraits, displayed on the gallery’s façade.
Since the 1970s, John Ahearn has been creating life-cast portraits of members of the New York community. In 1979, his project “South Bronx Hall of Fame” caused crowds to convene outside Fashion Moda, as the artist did live castings of members of the neighborhood and then displayed the resultant portraits along the walls. In 1991, this project became the subject of a traveling museum exhibition organized by the Contemporary Arts Center, Houston. For his latest exhibition with James Fuentes, the artist continues his practice – begun with this iconic initial project in the South Bronx – of monumentalizing everyday people.
In the same way that “South Bronx Hall of Fame” was intimately connected to the Bronx neighborhood in which it first appeared, Delancey Street will present a series of portraits of people with ties to downtown New York City. In a moment of dramatic change for our historic neighborhood, Ahearn’s portraits create a dialogue of past, present and future. The gallery’s laser-cut brick and wood façade, intended to honor the history of the ca. 1900 tenement building in which the gallery is located, provides a backdrop for effigies of longtime residents of the area and younger generations alike.
John Ahearn (b. Binghamton, NY, 1951) lives and works in New York City. Recent public projects and solo exhibitions include Coney Art Walls, Coney Island, Brooklyn (2016); Works From Dawson Street and Walton Avenue, Alexander and Bonin, New York (2014); South Bronx Hall of Fame, with Rigoberto Torres, Frieze Projects, New York (2012) Ahearn’s work has been included in group exhibitions at MoMA PS1, New York (2015); the Bronx Museum of the Arts (2009-2010); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1996); the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1993); the Whitney Museum of American Art (1985); the Institute of Contemporary Art, London (1982); and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1980).