ANTONIO LOPEZ: FUTURE FUNK FASHION EXHIBITION AT EL MUSEO DEL BARRIO

Vibrant colors, provocative sensuality and an explosion of high energetic visual artistry. Those are just some of the elements that can be experienced at the Antonio Lopez exhibition Future Funk Fashion. This extraordinary exhibit opened its doors at El Museo del Barrio on June 14th.

Antonio Lopez was a Puerto Rican native who grew up in East Harlem, New York City from the age of seven. A world renown fashion illustrator and artist whose works were prominently found in publications such as Vogue, Elle, The New York Times and Harper’s Bazaar among others. He attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and later moved to Paris to work alongside Karl Lagerfeld. El Museo del Barrio is presenting three decades worth of Antonio’s drawings that include his photographs, clothing and shoes (some that have never been seen before). It also highlights the working partnership with his life-long business partner, Juan Ramos. Future Funk Fashion is a celebration of Antonio’s artistry and is divided into themes such as the body, music, the street and the influence of Afrofuturism. Antonio’s eye for beauty and talent was one of a kind, which led him to work with and discover supermodels such as Jerry Hall, Pat Cleveland, Grace Jones and Jessica Lange (aka ‘Antonio’s Girls’). The story of these relationships are well portrayed throughout the exhibit in photographs and illustrations. In many of his sketches, he explored the muscular male and female form and he was highly influenced by music, dance, politics and the street culture of New York City in the 1970s and 1980s.

 

Antonio Lopez Self Portrait, Italian Vanity 1981

I had the opportunity to attend the exclusive press preview of the exhibition on Monday night. Walking through the galleries at El Museo you really got the essence of Antonio’s passions and how meaningful they were to him. It felt like time traveling back to the 1980s while seeing sketches of some of the members of the iconic hip hop group, ‘Rock Steady’. One of the many framed images that brought back so many childhood memories was the one of latin legend, Iris Chacon. In the latin community she was well-known as a talented, sexy, risque singer/dancer who entertained with her weekly variety show for over fifteen years on television. It was a time when every latino man and woman tuned in to watch Ms. Chacon shimmy and shake her curves as only she could, (surely paving the way for JLO today). As the evening progressed, the galleries filled up with guests that included Isabel and Ruben Toledo, Narciso Rodriguez, Pat Cleveland and many others. The admiration and joy in the room for Antonio’s vision was palpable. The exhbition is borderline an emotional journey through the mind of a creative force that brought innovation and diversity to the world of art and high fashion. Sadly, Antonio lost his battle to AIDS on March 17, 1987 at the age of 44. Perhaps you did or did not know who Antonio Lopez was before reading this, but if you are in New York City, make sure to add this exhibit to your summer plans. It is a thought provoking tribute that is guaranteed to provide inspiration and truly illustrates the many layers of this great artist. Future Funk Fashion is on view from June 14 – November 26, 2016.

“Antonio was without a doubt the person who, without being a fashion designer, had the biggest influence on fashion. His magic will never die.” Paloma Picasso

 

 

Antonio Lopez, Illustration for Karl Lagerfield in Vanity Fair, Musical Dress, 1980s, Gouache on paper, 22” x 30”

Antonio Lopez, Diana Ross, NYC, 1977, Crayon on paper, 24” x 18”, Courtesy of the Estate of Antonio Lopez & Juan Ramos

Antonio Lopez, Norma Kamali, NYC, 1982, Pencil & watercolor, 14” x18”, Courtesy of the Estate of Antonio Lopez & Juan Ramos

Antonio Lopez, Oscar de La Renta gowns, 1985, pencil & watercolor, 22” x 30”, Courtesy of the Estate of Antonio Lopez and Juan Ramos

 

Antonio Lopez, Josephine Baker & Pat Cleveland, NYC, 1977, Crayon on paper, 19.5” x 25”, Courtesy of the Estate of Antonio Lopez & Juan Ramos

Antonio Lopez, Iris Chacon, 1976, Kodak Instamatic, 3.5” x 4.5”, Courtesy of the Estate of Antonio Lopez & Juan Ramos

Antonio Lopez, Doze, 1983, Pencil on paper, 17” x 14”, Courtesy of the Estate of Antonio Lopez & Juan Ramos

Antonio Lopez, Tina Turner and Mick Jagger, 1986, Pencil/watercolor on paper, 17” x 14”, Courtesy of the Estate of Antonio Lopez & Juan Ramos

Antonio Lopez, Shoe Sculpture (Water), 1977, plastic, Plexiglas stand height: 8”, Courtesy of the Estate of Antonio Lopez & Juan Ramos

Antonio Lopez, Antonio Drawing Model, Italian Vanity, 1981, Pencil and gouache, 15” x 18”, Courtesy of the Estate of Antonio Lopez & Juan Ramos

The show is co-curated by Rocio Aranda-Alvarado, Curator at El Museo del Barrio and Amelia Malagamba-Ansotegui.
Special thanks to El Museo for the exibition preview invitation and images

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