Exploring power and status through heraldry
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“Bringing a sense of community into the visual”
Ranging freely among formats from collage and video to dance and performance, Rashaad Newsome addresses topics like sexuality and sexual identity, racial difference, and the power of imagery to convey power and status. His long-running performance work “Shade Compositions,” in which locally recruited black female and femme performers enact black vernacular speech patterns and gestures, has been staged at venues from the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, in Moscow, to the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, and the Kitchen, in New York. When the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art reopened after an expansion, he was on their go-to list of artists to stage performances to mark the occasion. Newsome has also created video and collage work on the phenomenon of “vogue,” an underground dance style that emerged in the queer ballroom scene of 1970s New York, and hosted vogueing performances.
Newsome’s work has been highlighted in major group exhibitions such as the Whitney Biennial and MoMA PS1’s “Greater New York”. Museums such as the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, in Washington, D.C. all own works by the artist. He’s had solo exhibitions at the Studio Museum, the Drawing Center in New York, New Orleans Contemporary Art Center, and the Art Gallery of York University, Toronto, among many other venues.