Monday, December 14th, 2009
Chicago based artist, Dzine (Carlos Rolon) appropriates the aesthetics of lowrider “Kustom [car] Kulture” into high art circles. In doing so, he redefines these objects, deeply rooted in Chicano ethnic and communal identities, as vibrant and viable works of sculpture.
As noted by Denise M. Sandoval in Cruising Through East Los Angeles: Chicano Lowrider Stories, “lowriders can be seen as embodiments of Mexican-American or Chicano social history, a heritage that is often misunderstood by other segments of the American populace…and speak to the creation of cultural space[s] within the urban environment…” While celebrating this heritage, Dzine simultaneously urges the viewer to see beyond such connections. “On one level its a folkloric tradition, but its also just one degree away from a Mariko Mori sculpture,” the artist reflected. “To put my work in a different environment where people might look at it as its Starke or Gerhy did it, is to make it aesthetic rather than sociological – to see this like I do, as a sculpture (Paper Magazine; Carlo McCormick, May 2008).
Dzine’s works are currently on view at The Bass Museum of Art, Miami (he also had a new work on display earlier this month with Deitch Projects at Art Basel, Miami – pictured below). The most innovative piece in the exhibit it a customized chandelier, tricked out with 24 karot gold, crystals, speakers, velvet, and rear view mirrors. Here, Dzine has flipped his usual method appropriation on its head, taking a high culture status symbol and reworking it into the lexicon of the street. With such compelling and instantly accessible works of art, we can’t help but imagine one of his wheeled-wonders bulldozing over Damien Hirst’s Diamond Skull. Here’s to wishful thinking.
Read on for our extensive images – click for larger views.