A suite of 47 works from the Estate of Antonio Lopez and Juan Ramos is going to El Museo del Barrio in New York. The gift from the estate, the largest to a cultural institution in its 30-year history, comes in the wake of the museum’s much-lauded 2016 exhibition “Antonio Lopez: Future Funk Fashion.”
The gift includes 35 works by Lopez—primarily drawings but also 13 deeply personal, gridded Instamatic portraits—and collaborative works between Lopez and Ramos, as well as individual works by Ramos, Carlos Rodriguez, and Matthew Olszak.
In a statement, Paul Caranicas, the estate’s director, said of the artists: “The donation of these works reflects the depth of their practice and artistic ideology: portraits of the break-dancers they worked with from the neighborhood they loved, archived materials from their educational lectures, and high-fashion editorial drawings that demonstrate the inspiration they derived from Harlem’s vibrant culture.”
El Museo del Barrio’s survey of Lopez, which ran from June through November of last year, shed light on one of the country’s most influential fashion illustrators, whose works imbued beauty and irreverence on his figures. The exhibition also included Lopez’s highly sculptural—and treacherously wearable—shoes, as well as his avid snapshots and drawings of his inner circle, including the likes of Grace Jones, Iman, Oscar de la Renta, Andy Warhol, Tina Chow, and drag queen goddess Divine.
The exhibition also highlighted the closely collaborative creative and business relationship between Lopez and Ramos, who were partners until Lopez’s death in 1987 from AIDS-related complications. The couple’s life together will also be the subject of a documentary by director James Crump to be released this spring, Antonio Lopez 1970: Sex Fashion & Disco.