Runs Oct 3-31st @ Public Functionary
Gallery Hours: Tues 4-8pm, Wed 12-4pm, Fri 12pm-8pm, Sat 7-11pm.

Definition: Mystery School // a discreet organization that explores the nature of life and existence through ancient traditions and wisdom passed down from earliest times.

The root of inspiration behind Michael Thomsen’s Mystery School has been evolving since he was a child. From hours spent pouring over his grandfather’s collection of esoteric literature on subjects such as freemasonry and the Order of the Shrine, a life-long curiosity was born. Thomsen’s ongoing research of clandestine organizations and their intricate sub-genres and crossovers led him to discover many fascinating stories that range from true history to whispered speculation. Mystery School explores subjects such as evidence of ancient astronauts, obscure texts from the Dead Sea Scrolls, the mythological Cult of Dionysus and more.

In his new body of work, Thomsen exposes the strange and intriguing secrets of a shrouded culture. A stunning collection of enigmatic assemblage works, Thomsen’s creations cross ornate rococo sensibilities with a vivid contemporary edge, bringing modern interpretation to ancient symbology, reliquary and myth. Mystery School guides the viewer both visually and literally through the shadowy beliefs and speculations of historians and occultists throughout time. What is truth, what is fiction?


First and foremost, Public Functionary seeks to push our artists to the next level, offering a platform for discovery and a chance for an artist to experiment and try new directions. In the case of Michael Thomsen, we saw an opportunity to present his work in a more contemporary light, a push he needed in order to move to the next step of his career. A self-taught artist living and working in Northeast Minneapolis for the past 15 years, Thomsen has deftly evolved his signature style from simple assemblage embellishment into ornately detailed neo-rococo installation art. Often stigmatized as a “dark” artist, Thomsen’s presentation at Public Functionary is anything but. In Mystery School, the artist steps out of the shadows with the addition of bright, primary colors and neon lighting, while still retaining the decadent personal style that people have come to know and love. A perfect show for October, Mystery School delves into the concept of secret societies, shrouded fables and clandestine history — with a Michael Thomsen twist!


Michael Thomsen is a self-taught, award-winning assemblage sculptor and filmmaker living in Minneapolis, MN. In his sculpture work, Thomsen combines woodworking techniques, painting and assemblage with discovered artifacts from thrift stores, flea markets and more, creating a beautifully converged narrative of mysterious objects, mood and wonder. Over the past 15 years, Thomsen’s work has been exhibited locally and nationally, most recently at Minneapolis College of Art & Design (MN), Instinct Gallery (MN), Parlor Gallery (NJ) and Alexi Era Gallery (MO) and more.