PRINT February 1989


“BY NOW, IN THE 1980S, we are all disenchanted enough to know that no work of art, however much it may fortify the spirit or nourish the eye and mind, has the slightest power to save a life.” So wrote Robert Rosenblum, in an essay already much criticized (by Douglas Crimp and others), in the catalogue for the 1987 Art against AIDS project. I can’t say that the fashion illustrations of Antonio Lopez, who died of AIDS shortly before the catalogue appeared, ever saved a life or even prolonged his own. What I can say, and want to with some feeling, is that Antonio’s art knew nothing of the kind of disenchantment to which Rosenblum’s sweeping “we all” so blithely consigns us. Of the many reasons for which I esteem his work. not least was its power to refute the impotent claim that art cannot cause social change directly. Antonio’s art used enchantment to break spells of racial prejudice. The

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