As long time fans and supporters of the work of Carlos Rolón, we would like to congratulate Carlos on the global recognition that he has been receiving and the success of his recent exhibits. As a first generation American, born and raised in Chicago, the culture of his Puerto Rican parents has infused his life and his work. Rolón is brilliant at creating work that captures both his cultural experience and its historical significance with a sensibility that speaks to a global audience.

Carlos Rolón: Buscando América

His current solo exhibit, Buscando América (Searching for America), at the Library Street Collective in Detroit, showcases Rolón’s ability to blend and examine his American culture and Puerto Rican heritage. A wall of boom boxes, collected by Rolón and one of his oldest friends, is displayed opposite Boom Box Edition, one of a series of 24-karat gold leafed boom boxes that Rolón created this year. Rolón’s childhood home was filled with ornate works and he was raised in the boom box-era, but the gold is much more than just a nostalgic touch. It is a statement about the history of Puerto Rico and the role that the search for gold played in that history.

After Christopher Columbus claimed Puerto Rico (meaning Rich Port) for Spain in 1493, he noticed that the people of the island adorned their clothing with pieces of gold that they found in streams and riverbeds. Queen Isabella gave Ponce de Leon permission to go to Puerto Rico and explore the island.

In 1508, Ponce de Leon began to mine gold. Uprisings by local inhabitants were dealt with harshly, sometimes by forcing them to work in the mines. It is estimated that in the first few decades of Puerto Rico’s occupation by the Spanish, the gold produced was valued at over $4 million in Spanish currency. By about 1530 the gold deposits were beginning to become exhausted.

Much of Rolón’s work, like Bahamian Love Vine VI (Spanish Gold), available at VFA, alludes to this era in Puerto Rico’s history. The gold mining necessitated the destruction of flora in many areas of the island. The work is both nostalgic and ironic. Rolón mourns the destruction caused by the quest for gold and uses gold to evoke and capture childhood memories.

His bicycle sculpture, The Majestics (For Louise), now in the Buscando América exhibit,was recently displayed at NYCxDESIGN, New York City’s annual celebration of design, to highlight bike riding as a sustainable means of transportation the is re-shaping cities. Further details about Buscando América can be found at:  The show will run through June 2.

Carlos Rolón’s Global Recognition

Though Rolón’s work reflects his unique Puerto Rican heritage, its appeal is universal and can be found in the permanent collections of such distinguished venues as the Museum Het Domein in The Netherlands, the  Deagu Art Museum in Korea, the Brooklyn Museum, the City of Chicago Public Art Collection, the Museo de Arte de Ponce, Puerto Rico and the Bass Museum in Miami.

Carlos Rolón at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about Bahamian Love Vine VI (Spanish Gold) or any of the other fine art work available at VFA.

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