The much-anticipated opening of Public Functionary, the new gallery in northeast Minneapolis brought to you by director Tricia Khutoretsky, is finally here with an exhibition of work by Dzine, titled "Victory." The show, which has tons of glitz and glam, is appropriately celebratory for the occasion, and marks, hopefully, the beginning of something special here in the Twin Cities.
The exhibition's centerpiece is a large, elaborate chandelier decked out with cheap estate jewelry and mirrors, and is christened with bamboo earrings. Called Untitled (Around the way girl 1), the piece harkens LL Cool J's rap "Around the Way Girl," which contains the lyrics "I want a girl with extensions in her hair/Bamboo earrings/At least two pair/A Fendi bag and a bad attitude/That's all I need to get me in a good mood."
While the chandelier takes the prize for gaudiness, other pieces on display are not far behind. Taking a close second place is Emigrants/Immigrants (Mementos and Symbols for the Nuyoricans), a large assemblage of vintage trophies, sequins, and other accoutrements presented with a plush red fabric backdrop.
Khutoretsky says Dzine draws inspiration from his family background and upbringing. Dzine, who is of Puerto Rican heritage and is from Chicago, celebrates and appropriates elements of subcultures, such as cockfighting and custom-made cars (in the original showing of this exhibition there were cars in the gallery). Khutoretsky also suggests that Untitled (L.A. Gold) -- an intricately assembled mosaic of mirror, resin, and crystalline -- provides a commentary on society's obsession with things like Instagram and Facebook, while also drawing from the artist's experience of having many mirrors in his childhood home.
When Khutoretsky first met Dzine (a.k.a. Carlos Rolon) in Dallas, where the exhibit originally opened, he asked her what she thought of the show. She told him that she thought it would be perfect to open Public Functionary because "it's so over the top," she says, "and explores the idea of success."
Emigrants/Immigrants (Mementos and Symbols for the Nuyoricans) by Dzine
The opening of Public Functionary, which is a non-profit, is already a success story, having raised over $30,000 on a Kickstarter campaign that went toward the physical construction of its new space, which they share with Permanent Art and Design Group and Lab Digital, a digital imaging and print facility. "The building is a nice trifecta of three separate creative businesses that support each other," says Kate Iverson, from Permanent, who along with Mike Bishop, also from Permanent, serves on the board of directors for Public Functionary.
Khutoretsky previously was employed by Permanent as curator for their galleries XYandZ (now closed) and CO Exhibitions (still in operation, and run by the screen printing group Burlesque of North America). In forming PF, Khutoretsky split off from Permanent, but the group worked with her to develop the concept, and "continues to work as an agency partner providing support, art direction, and brand strategy," Iverson says.
But what exactly is Public Functionary, and how is it different from other local galleries? That, Khutoretsky says, is still a work in progress. "Over the past year, we've changed the floor plan many times, and we've revised the mission statement even more times," Khutoretsky writes in a newsletter. "We've made plenty of mistakes, but we've celebrated small victories and good choices."
A noteworthy gesture of the way Public Functionary will operate lies in its engagement with local artists. A group of artists are already in residence, including visual-arts resident Mike Fitzsimmons and music/community resident Sarah White. For this first exhibition, they also sought input from a whole host of local artists -- such as Javier Tavera, Maria Isa, and Felipe Cuauhtli from Los Nativos -- for creative programming ideas. Upcoming events include a food night with Latin American caterers, a low-rider showcase, artist talks, a screening of a film by Dzine, and musical guests Rhymesayers and Maria Isa, plus a Bomba live drumming group from Chicago.
Khutoretsky says the gallery plans to be dark January through March of each year, but during that time, they hope to do educational programming.
IF YOU GO:
"Victory" Featuring Dzine There will be an opening reception from 8 to 11 p.m. Saturday, April 20 Public Functionary 1400 12th Ave. NE, Minneapolis Through May 31