UAB’s AEIVA presents “Carlos Rolón: Boxed”

“Boxed” will be on exhibition June 1-Aug. 4, with a complementary exhibition devoted to works by past visiting artists at UAB.

rolon web2From front: Carlos Rolón, "My Father's Wishes (No.2)," 2014. Wallpaper, wood, mirror, 24kt gold leaf. Courtesy of the artist and Salon 94, New York, NY; Top: "Mein Kölner Dom," 1992, hand-wrapped collaged lithograph with fabric, twine, and map. Purchased with the Visual Arts Gallery Purchase Fund from Private Contributions. Collection of the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, UAB; and Carlos Rolón, "Duran Flag," 2014, moad and entruada paper with archival Ink, acrylic, crystalline and vintage jewelry on wood panel. Courtesy of the artist and Salon 94, New York, NYAmerican contemporary artist Carlos Rolón will visit and speak at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for an exhibition of works.

“Carlos Rolón: Boxed” will open June 1 and be on display through Aug. 4, presented by the College of Arts and SciencesAbroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts. The artist’s lecture is set for 5 p.m. Friday, June 1, followed with a public reception from 6-8 p.m. Both events are free. 

Rolón, a first-generation immigrant of Puerto Rican descent, was formerly known throughout the art world as Dzine. He lives and works in his hometown of Chicago, Illinois. His work is autobiographical, often merging his memories with his imagination. Rolón creates site-specific works. He returns to UAB after creating the large-scale painting “Tokyo Boogie” in 2003, in the former location of the UAB Visual Arts Gallery.

“Carlos Rolón is an internationally renowned artist, and we love being able to say that one of his earliest exhibitions originated at UAB,” said AEIVA Curator John Fields. “‘Tokyo Boogie’ is a truly significant part of our permanent collection, and we are thrilled to have it on public display for the first time since Carlos’ 2003 visit.”

Rolón attended the Columbia College Chicago with a focus on painting and drawing. Early in Rolón’s career, he was influenced by New York’s 1980s street life, disco, hip-hop and punk scenes. He explores ideas of identity while creating elaborate installations, decorative sculptures and richly crafted abstract paintings influenced by an American, Latino sub-culture. Within his work, he continues to examine the influences of pop culture, ritual, craft and beauty, while continuing to make references back to art history. 

Rolón’s work has been exhibited in museums across the globe, such as the Bass Museum of Art, Miami; Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; among many others.

Boxing loomed large in the artist’s childhood household; he recalls watching a young Howard Cosell on ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” and the infamous “No más” fight between Roberto Durán and Sugar Ray Leonard, occasions that also provided opportunities to bond with his father.

Inspired by Rolon’s return visit, also on exhibition will be a collection of works by visiting artists at UAB over the years. Artists included are Peter Voulkos, Christo, Leonard Nimoy, John Waters, Peter Halley and others.

The UAB Department of Art and Art History’s Visiting Artist and Scholar Series provides students, faculty and the Birmingham community with direct exposure to national and internationally known artists and scholars. In addition to the public programming, visiting artists and scholars regularly engage with students through seminars, workshops and critiques.

“Through our dynamic partnership with AEIVA, we are glad to have the opportunity to collect and share works made by our previous artists and scholars, providing further opportunity for our students and community to continue an ongoing dialogues,” said Department of Art and Art History Chair Jessica Dallow, M.A., Ph.D.

“It’s truly remarkable that so many significant works from AEIVA’s permanent collection are a direct result of these artists’ visits,” Fields said. “It’s a testament to the value of visiting artist programs.”

AEIVA is open to the public 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 12-6 p.m. Saturday. It is closed Sundays and holidays.