Snowfall in LA: DELANO DUNN

23 September - 28 October 2021

Montague Contemporary is pleased to present Snowfall in LA, an exhibition of new works Delano Dunn. The exhibition will open on Thursday, September 23rd and will be on view through October 28.


This new body of work explores the notions of absence and the search to (re)connect with the present. From drugs to suicidal ideation, the works challenge the notion of the Black monolithic experience. Like Snow Falling in Los Angeles, the narrative in these works are about the abrupt occurrence of the impossible. Clouded by bright colors and reflective surfaces, pain, heartbreak, and confusion are masked, demonstrating the length that people go to hide from others the truth of where they are in the moment.


Central to the works are caricatures of African Americans from the last century, from comics to advertisements, such as illustrations from an early publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and The Gold Dust Twins at Work and Play, which serve as an entry point for the viewer to observe the quick decay of a person’s mental state due to societal pressures, oppression, substance abuse, and the search for salvation.


A deeply personal body of work for Delano Dunn, each work serves as a confession of the spiralling mental fragmentation over the course of two years experience by the artist. The works track one person's slide into unexpected darkness searching for relief from pain. 


Dunn's continued use of caricatures, found materials, and historically challenging reference materials drives a powerful personal narrative and his use of historical characters provide a mechanism to craft a unique narrative. Topsy, the famous picaninny from the book, is a stand in for marginalized African Americans, who have succumbed to the pressures of substance abuse. The 1902 promotional booklet issued by Gold Dust Washing Soap, The Gold Dust Twins At Work And Play, is also used as an image source, in addition to other publications. Sequins, glitter, reflective tape, and rhinestones act as an enticement while serving as a metaphor for the allure drugs hold on those in the pursuit of stillness.




Delano Dunn (b.1978, Los Angeles, CA) is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts with an MFA in Fine Arts. Delano Dunn’s practice is an ongoing investigation into the history of being Black in America. Using a variety of mediums, particularly well known for his multi-layered collage works, Dunn explores chronologically parallel histories for Americans and the multiple vantage points to understand post-Emancipation. HIstorical-cum-Afrofuturist, Dunn both embraces and challenges the idea of “Black Utopia” - a time, place, and space in which America is an equitable and safe space for Black people.


He has had solo exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, among others. In 2017 he was nominated for the prestigious United States Artists Fellowship and received the Sustainable Arts Foundation Individual Artist's Grant. He was the 2016 recipient of the College Art Association’s Visual Arts Graduate Fellowship. Group exhibitions include The Uptown Triennial at Columbia University, Montague Contemporary, The Wassaic Project, ArtSpace in New Haven, Spring/Break Art Show, Project for Empty Space, PULSE New York, The Delaware Contemporary, La Bodega Gallery, and more. Dunn has been featured in The New York Times, VICE Media’s The Creators Project, and Hyperallergic, amongst others.


Other awards include the Delaware Contemporary’s Curator’s Choice Award, and SVA’s Edward Zutrau Memorial Award and Alumni Thesis Scholarship Award. Residencies include The Wassaic Summer Artist Residency, Project for Empty Space in Newark, NJ, and SPACE at Ryder Farm.