Rashaad Newsome is a multidisciplinary artist whose work blends several practices together including: collage, sculpture, video, music, computer programming and performance, to form an altogether new field. Rashaad Newsome is best known for his visually stunning collages housed in custom frames, Newsome’s work is deeply invested in how images used in media and popular culture communicate distorted notions of power. Using the equalizing force of sampling, he crafts compositions that surprise in their associative potential and walk the tightrope between intersectionality, social practice and abstraction. Newsome’s works opposes cultural essentialisms. They lead us into a realm of uncertainty, in which the symbols presented transform, but are nonetheless made tangible.
Newsome’s most recent collages evolve from abstracted Baroque-esque designs that incorporate symbols of these subcultures to personified figurative subjects with clearly recognizable human faces and bodies. Compositionally, these works are still heavily influenced by Newsome’s interest in the rules of heraldry and the use of contemporary pop cultural status symbols. By moving towards portraiture, Newsome engages with the idea of agency, specifically in relation to interpretations of feminism by trans-gender and cis-gender women of color. In giving his collages faces, Newsome inherently imbues them with this sense of agency as the figures that emerge confront viewers head-on.
Newsome lives and works in New York City. He was born in 1979 in New Orleans, He has exhibited and performed in galleries, museums, institutions, and festivals throughout the world including: Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans (LA), The Whitney Museum (NYC), The Studio Museum in Harlem (NYC), Brooklyn Museum (NYC), MoMAPS1 (NYC), SFMOMA (CA), New Orleans Museum of Art (LA), Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris, France), The Garage Center for Contemporary Culture (Moscow, Russia), and MUSA (Vienna, Austria). Newsome’s work is in numerous public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art (NYC), The Brooklyn Museum of Art (NYC), The SFMOMA (CA), The Studio Museum (NYC), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (CA), The McNay Art Museum of San Antonio (TX), and the recently inaugurated National Museum of Afro-American History and Culture. In 2010 he participated in the Whitney Biennial (NYC), and in 2011 in Greater New York at MoMAPS1 (NYC).