An unassuming gray-brick building, smushed in the middle of a northeast Minneapolis neighborhood, opens this weekend as the Cities’ newest contemporary-art gallery: Public Functionary.
The intimate gallery, supported by a generous 30-day and $30,000 Kickstarter campaign, will kick things off with an exhibit by Chicago-based artist Carlos Rolon—a.k.a. Dzine.
If you’re looking for art that makes sense, this is not the show for you. “People often prefer explanations in a nice little package, but our sense is that neatly wrapped packages can be limiting,” says Tricia Khutoretsky, the director and curator of Public Functionary.
And Dzine’s art is anything but nicely packaged. In fact, it’s downright tacky.
The exhibit steps out of the Midwestern middle-class neighborhood in which it’s situated into a gaudy, sparkling, over-the-top Latin American home. This is Dzine’s homage to his heritage, his father, and the low-rider car culture.
The show’s installations range from giant 80-by-80-inch paintings on wood that are meticulously bedazzled with gems, spray-painted with neon-colored auto-body paint, or covered in glitzy black fabric and jewels, to two golden metal roosters perched on a mirror—inspired by the cock fights that take place in Puerto Rico. Even the gold-and-black stencils painted on the gallery’s walls, by Dzine’s sister-in-law, are part of his artistic vision.
Untitled (around the way girl 1)
The most intriguing piece of the show includes a set of about 40 trophies Dzine found or collected from friends and family, which he placed on a pedestal made of retro purple-plush fabric and set off by a wall covered in fake red fur. The trophies are each unique in their own way: bedazzled, furry, covered in gold necklaces (as a nod to his father’s love of jewelry), wrapped in sparkly fabric. My favorite was a trophy displaying brass knuckles on top, which Dzine says represents the low-rider car culture and his heritage.
On opening night, the gallery will have a club-like feel, with dramatic lighting and an ornate chandelier covered in gaudy gold jewelry, bamboo earrings, and mirrors, which Dzine calls Untitled (Around the way girl 1)—L.L. Cool J anyone?
Opening night party: Saturday, April 20; 8–11 p.m.
Exhibit runs through Friday, May 31, 2013
Public Functionary Gallery
1400 12th Ave. NE, Mpls.