Gallery Hours through Nov 25
Holiday Weekend: Closed Thurs, Nov 23

OPEN: Fri, Nov 24 6pm-11pm / Sat, Nov 25 12-6pm
Weekend Programming details here.


Public Functionary is pleased to announce our first exhibit of Fall 2017, a solo exhibition of new photography from Minneapolis-based artist, Bobby Rogers. The exhibition opens on Friday, October 20 at 7pm. The exhibit runs through November 25, 2017.


Opening Reception: Friday, October 20 / 7pm @ Public Functionary
Gallery Hours through Nov 25
Open hours: Tues/Thurs 12-6pm / Friday 6pm -11pm / Sat 12-5pm
Artist Conversation: Friday, Nov 10 / 7pm

Final weekend programming. Details here.

Limited Edition Prints — Online Store —-



Juxtapoz Magazine

Star Tribune



The Blacker the Berry is inspired in part by the title of the 1929 novel by American author Wallace Thurman, associated with the Harlem Renaissance. It was considered groundbreaking for its exploration of colorism and racial discrimination within the black community, where lighter skin was often favored, especially for women. This pioneering novel found a way beyond the bondage of Blackness in American life to a new meaning in truth and beauty. Notably, The Harlem Renaissance was a cultural, social, and artistic explosion that took place in Harlem, New York spanning the 1920s. This movement included new African-American cultural expressions and was considered to be a rebirth of African-American arts. 80 years later, long past the context of a Harlem Renaissance, Kendrick Lamar, the Compton rapper released a 2015 track titled “The Blacker the Berry” laced with lyrics that respond powerfully and emotionally to the ongoing race and violence issues in America. Lamar is known for rapping about loving yourself in a culture that degrades you, though this particular track is exceptionally enraged. “The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice,” was also used in Tupac Shakur’s “Keep Your Head Up” in 1993. Shakur, a popular, socially conscious rapper of the 1980s and 1990s, created music not only for others to understand the social injustices facing Black Americans but provided Blacks living in conditions of oppression with a voice in society. Lamar credits Shakur as an inspiration for his current role as a storyteller through music.

Hip-hop has a history as a mode of social resistance, the rhetorical elements of the genre make it an effective method of protest. Rogers’ use of “the Blacker the Berry” is then an exploration of identity, race, authentic self-expression and self-love as an artist. He explores potential for the medium of photography as contemporary activism and protest, broadcast within a visually-driven, internet-dependent society. Bobby Rogers’ photographs are an act of resistance and a response to oppression, a response that shows blackness as beautiful, mystical, complex and human.

“The subjects in my work are Black. They’re as dark as everything I’ve been taught to hate about my physical self. My work is about black radical traditions, hip-hop, and the history of the Diaspora. My ancestors were stolen, slaughtered, and enslaved; I work to transcend and release ancestral trauma by fantasizing and reveling over the grandiose empires in which these ancestors once reigned. I communicate all aspects of my selfhood through my photography in an effort to inspire my audiences to similarly elevate and explore their identities and histories.”

-Bobby Rogers

Set in the context of current culture and social tensions, The Blacker the Berry considers Blackness both historically and presently, through a series of ten large-scale conceptual portraits. His subjects are captured through intentional portraiture that evokes a cultural renaissance, asking the viewer to consider an artistic movement that celebrates Blackness in response to the racially-charged consciousness of contemporary America.



Bobby Rogers was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. His work is centered in his multiple identities as black, millennial, Muslim. While pursuing a degree in Illustration at MCAD, Rogers found the space and freedom to begin a journey of self-exploration. Early on through illustration, he created work about mental illness and addiction and later explored the DIY aesthetics of street culture and its influence on high fashion. Today, he is investigating the revolutionary ideologies of Black culture through contemporary portrait photography.

Rogers has a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and currently works as an illustrator, designer and photographer. Past and present clients include Bevel, Racked Magazine, Mia, MCAD, American Swedish Institute, Pollen, NEMAA, BrandLab, UofM. At JXTA he is the Design Manager in the Graphics Lab. His photography has been seen at Public Functionary, Light Grey Art Lab, MN Museum of American Art and in the MN Historical Society’s permanent collection. His photography work has been featured by Buzzfeed, City Pages, The Huffington Post, Mic, Vice Mag and more. In 2016, Minnesota Monthly named Rogers one of Minnesota’s Top Up and Coming Artists to Watch.



**This exhibit and related programming is supported by a Bush Foundation Events Sponsorship Grant**


Pop-up exhibition viewing hours:

Thurs, July 6 / 1pm – 6pm
Friday, July 7 / 1pm – 6pm
Saturday, July 8 / 12pm – 5pm
Wed, July 12 / 1pm – 6pm

Thurs, July 13 / 1pm – 9pm (artist conversation 7pm)
Friday, July 14 / 1pm – 6pm

Artist Conversation: Thursday, July 13 / 7pm


The Shop: an exhibition based on the iconography and culture of the Black barbershop.

The Shop is a multi-media art exhibition based on the iconography and culture of the Black barbershop. The exhibition recalls the Afro-centric rumination central to the barbershop experience. Black hair, historically an object of ridicule, has evolved into a symbol of pride and rebellion. The barbershop is a microcosm of the African American experience. It is a place where past, present and future combine and authenticity is valued most.

The works will showcase a wide array of artistic disciplines including paintings, photography, screen prints, drawings and digital art, sharing different perspectives in response to the importance of the barbershop experience to the Black community. The show will feature both emerging and established Black artists creating work around the theme, a rare cross-generational collective show highlighting African American artists collectively engaging with the broader MN arts scene.

The Shop is curated by CRICE Kahlil.

The Shop includes work by: Noah Lawrence-Holder, CRICE Khalil, Seitu Jones, Candice Davis,
Ta–coumba T. Aiken, Emma Eubanks, Bobby Rogers, Keith Williams.

About the Artists

Noah Lawrence-Holder
is an animator and illustrator from Madison, WI. His work explores black identity, beauty and the intersection of race and gender.

Seitu Jones has created over 30 large-scale public art works on his own or in collaboration. He’s been awarded a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship, a McKnight Visual Artist Fellowship, a Bush Artist Fellowship, a Bush Leadership Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts/Theater Communication Group Designer Fellowship. In 2014, he integrated artwork into three stations for the new Greenline Light Rail Transit system in the Twin Cities. A 2013 Joyce Award, from Chicago’s Joyce Foundation allowed Seitu to develop CREATE: The Community Meal, a dinner for 2,000 people at a table a half a mile long.

Ta–coumba Aiken is a Twin Cities artist, arts administrator, educator and community activist who focuses on public art and collaborative projects. His “rhythm paintings” on paper and canvas are loose and lively. He has participated in the creation of over 300 murals and public art sculptures with themes ranging from local history to the artist’s own style of rhythmic pattern and spirit writing. He has been the recipient of awards including a Pollock–Krasner Foundation Fellowship and a Bush Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship. His works can be found in public and private collections including those of the Walker Art Center, General Mills, Herbie Hancock, Taj Mahal, and Maya Angelou.

Candice Davis
is a multidisciplinary, conceptual artist from San Antonio, Texas currently residing in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Through primarily digital media, installation, and performance, her work focuses on engaging audiences with social issues. Davis prioritizes accessible distribution of social and political messages in her practice. She has exhibited work at The Soap Factory and Minneapolis College of Art and Design’s Gallery 148 in Minneapolis and the Reynolds Gallery in College Station, Texas. She is currently working towards a BFA in Web + Multimedia Environments at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Davis is the President of MCAD’s Black Artist Student Union and co-established an annual Potluck for People of Color at the college.

Emma Eubanks is an illustrator from St. Paul. Her work is inspired by growing up in the Twin Cities, as well as the issues that black youth face. Through focusing on the ordinary, she depicts the beauty that can be found in the mundane realities of city life. An important aspect of her body of work is the exploration of the broad range of relationships between black youth, and they way interact with our city.

CRICE Kahlil is a Minneapolis College of Art and Design alumni living in Southside Minneapolis. He gains his inspiration from hip-hop and graffiti to document the issues and motifs of pan-Africanist realities through his art. He uses these themes as a lens to view and display his thoughts and experiences with race, class, and “the American dream.” Authenticity is the driving force in his art. He is always thinking about how art interacts in an urban environment, the temporality of art in the streets, and how the public views and interacts with a piece. Currently his focus is in painting and screen-printing, and the interplay between those mediums. He has also been experimenting with wheat paste-ups, mural painting, and other forms of public art.

Bobby Rogers is a visual artist whose work portrays both the vivid richness of communities of color and a personal fascination with futurism. His images are bold statements that capture the beauty and power of color that has often been overlooked & excluded. It’s provocative, emotional, and fairly cosmic all at once—with a vision that runs the gamut from the emotionally representative to the far-flung realm of dreams.

Keith Williams
is a Kansas City born Minneapolis transplant. He is traditionally a trained artist that has found a love for creating beyond the traditional. Keith has spent the last eight years creating in the digital and advertising world. Though working for brands and startups was an invaluable experience, his love for painting and fine art never left. His work revolves around symbolism and the connections that are made from iconography and familiar imagery. Keith uses simplicity within color and imagery to explore and explain more complex ideas and issues of identity, constructs, race and the human condition. His background in digital has recently influenced his creative process.

CRICE Kahlil is a fiscal year 2017 recipient of an Artist initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and culture heritage fund.