Dzine: Born, Carlos Rolon, 1970
January 29 – March 1, 2014
Paul Kasmin Gallery, 515 West 27th Street
Opening Reception: Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 6 - 8pm
Paul Kasmin Gallery, in collaboration with Salon 94, is pleased to present Dzine: Born, Carlos Rolon, 1970, a joint exhibition of new works by Carlos Rolon (Dzine), on view January 29 – March 1, 2014 at 515 West 27th Street, New York. At Paul Kasmin Gallery, Rolon will present a dually charged exploration of boxing and domestic culture, inspired by the tactility and performative qualities of boxing, and its importance in Latin America, specifically in Puerto Rican and Cuban communities. By mining his childhood memories, Rolon invites the viewer to step into intimate scenes such as his family’s wood-paneled basement, decorated with gold garlands and vintage beer placards, where his father would watch prize fights like Roberto Durán V. Sugar Ray Leonard, also known as the No Más Fight. This fight was particularly important for Rolon growing up as it allowed him to sit for short periods of time connecting with his father.
Rolon monumentalizes his blue-collar trophy den as the setting for his exhibition, creating an homage not only to boxing culture, but also to Puerto Rican immigration to America. Within the exhibition is an installation of paintings and sculptural fabric works exuberant with color, texture, patterns, and experiments in surface that create a visual dialogue between the physical charge of boxing, the garments worn by the fighters, and the artist’s own childhood home and upbringing as a first generation immigrant. Also occupying the den is a series of custom-made trophies entitled Immigrants/Emigrants (Symbols and Mementos for the Nuyoricans) created, as the artist states “for people like my father and mother who came to the U.S for a better life with dreams and aspirations that never quite materialized, but still achieved success in other aspects of their life.”
In conjunction with this exhibition, the artist will release BOXED: A Visual History of the Art of Boxing, published by Damiani, Paul Kasmin Gallery, and Salon 94, and distributed by D.A.P International. BOXED is a visual presentation of how the sport of boxing has been a source of inspiration and metaphor for artists, craftsmen and documentarians. For Rolon BOXED is a love letter to his father, in the vein of his previous publication, NAILED, and traveling installation Imperial Nail Salon (an exact reproduction of his childhood living room), which was a tribute to his mother. A selection of artists included in BOXED are Jeff Koons, Glenn Ligon, Yoshitomo Nara, Claes Oldenburg, Ed Paschke, Paul Pfeiffer, Ed Ruscha, Ushio Shinohara, Gary Simmons, Ken Solomon, Sam Taylor-Wood, Jeff Wall, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Christopher Wool, Jules De Balincort, Libby Black, Taner Ceylan, Robert Graham, and Keith Haring, with a foreword by curator Franklin Sirmans.
Salon 94 will present a concurrent exhibition at their 243 Bowery, New York location, further addressing the artist’s dual identity, developed as he traveled back and forth from Puerto Rico to the U.S as a child. Throughout his life, the artist bore witness to the ways in which households adapted to new American lifestyles. Of particular importance to the Puerto Rican home was the mirror, which could be strategically positioned to give the illusion of grander, larger spaces. Thus, the prized objects transformed the makeshift homes of cinderblock and corrugated metal, an act of decorative escapism. Rolon channels this approach with large scale, obsessively detailed, mosaic-like crack-pattern paintings outlined with crystals and glitter caulking, expanding on ideas of self-reflection and imagined luxury. Some of the mirror paintings take their patterns from security fences on gates and windows found throughout Puerto Rican neighborhoods, emphasizing the relationship between decoration and protection in the home. A life-sized preserved palm tree adorned with lights is positioned at the center of the gallery. A customized Schwinn bicycle is outfitted with speakers that play traditional salsa, merengue, and folk music. Taken together, these objects account for a loud and remarkable celebration of dual identities, co-mingling and reflecting one another. As in his exhibition at Paul Kasmin Gallery, Rolon ushers in a new body of work that exposes and exalts an archive of everyday aesthetics, and the culture of memory that surrounds them.
Carlos Rolon (b. 1970, Chicago Illinois) attended Columbia College, Chicago with a concentration in painting and drawing. Over the past several years, Rolon has been recognized for his elaborately crafted paintings, ornate sculptures and works based on Kustom Kulture. His studio practice comes out of his rich Puerto Rican heritage and upbringing in the US. Situated between conspicuous consumption and urban identity, it is at once melancholic, expressive and exuberant. Rolon is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation award for Painting and Sculpture. Recent museum exhibitions and projects include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The New Museum, New York; the Bass Museum of Art, Miami; Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan; the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan; the Contemporary Art Museum, St.Louis; the Museum Het Domein, Sittard, The Netherlands; The Busan Biennale, Korea; the Ukrainian Pavilion, 52nd Biennale di Venezia, Italy, among others. His work is in many museum and public collections such as the Bass Museum of Art, Miami; the Brooklyn Museum, NY; City of Chicago Public Art Collection, Illinois; Museo del Barrio, New York; Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan; Museum Het Domein, Sittard, The Netherlands; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; and the Pinchuk Art Centre, Kiev.
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