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A Public Functionary Victory

Sloshing in from an unseasonably wintry spring night, revelers gathered amidst the rich fabrics and assorted tableaux of gaudy and embellished items that Chicago-based artist Dzine has brought together for Public Functionary‘s first-ever exhibition. The opening of this non-profit gallery and social space has been much anticipated, and the opening was heralded through the night with pulsating […]

Sloshing in from an unseasonably wintry spring night, revelers gathered amidst the rich fabrics and assorted tableaux of gaudy and embellished items that Chicago-based artist Dzine has brought together for Public Functionary‘s first-ever exhibition. The opening of this non-profit gallery and social space has been much anticipated, and the opening was heralded through the night with pulsating music, bomba drums, and a steady stream of attendees.

Dzine, Club Gallistico. From the website of Public Functionary.

Dzine, Club Gallistico. From the website of Public Functionary.

Dzine’s show is aptly called Victory: seeing it, you feel as if you are walking through a personal awards-meets-dressing-room. Trophies abound! There are dozens of them along the far wall of the gallery that, upon close inspection, have clearly been reappropriated in the style of kustom kulture: they are decorative works swathed in a variety of bright velvets, fringe and brass knuckles. The artist, né Carlos Rolon, started as a teenaged graffiti artist and has gained popularity for bringing a celebratory Puerto Rican aesthetic into the art world via both installations and flamboyant nail art—a taste of his personal heritage at a large and small scale.

Detail from Dzine's "Victory." Photo by the author.

Detail from Dzine’s Victory. Photo by the author.

At the heart of the exhibition, a low-hanging chandelier, Untitled (Around the Way Girl I), drips with fake gold hoop earrings, mirrored surfaces and crystals. Like Andy Messerschmidt’s sheep chandelier in the Walker’s “oculus,” Dzine’s fixture functions as a sculpture but also draws the viewer into its warm and illuminated space. Dzine’s centerpiece is a beautiful distraction from the rest of the exhibition, an inviting place for people to congregate; small groups could be found throughout opening night staring into the work’s low lights like a fire in the hearth. The 2D works along the walls need to be experienced close-up, and every surface of Public Functionary is built up like a wall of a kitschy gingerbread house. Unlike their edible counterparts, these artworks are just eye candy, but still tantalizingly just-within-reach. The textures of the walls and paintings include: sequins, gilding, gold chains, and all sorts of other costume jewelry. I felt like a magpie ensnared by all the shiny things on view, drawn nearer and nearer to each sequined painting, wall and sculpture to investigate.

Detail from Dzine's "Victory." Photo by the author.

Detail from Dzine’s Victory. Photo by the author.

Situated in a relatively small exhibition space, Victory lives large. The installation celebrates the delights of surface and texture, but goes deeper too, confronting the viewer with signifiers of success. That said, literature for the show takes pains to invite all manner of viewers in, reassuring them that Dzine’s “work is not difficult to understand.” There are no individual wall labels, and there are many details to explore – it’s an invitation to stay a while and bask in the bright colors.  Victory by Dzine is on view through May 31st at Public Functionary in Minneapolis.

For more: http://publicfunctionary.org/.

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Chloe Nelson is the program assistant for mnartists.org.

Viewfinder posts are your opportunity to “show & tell” about the everyday arts happenings, interesting sights and sounds made or as seen by Minnesota artists, because art is where you find it. Submit your own informal, first-person responses to the art around you to editor(at)mnartists.org, and we may well publish your piece here on the blog. (Guidelines: 300 words or less, not about your own event/work, and please include an image, media, video, or audio file, and one sentence about yourself.)