NEW YORK, NY – De Buck Gallery is pleased to announce an upcoming solo exhibition by New York-based artist Rashaad Newsome. Entitled Stop Playing in My Face!, this exhibition marks Newsome’s debut at De Buck Gallery. The exhibition will be on view at the gallery from April 21 through June 25, 2016. An opening reception in the presence of the artist is scheduled for April 21 from 6-8 PM.
Known for his collages and videos that offer commentary through the lenses of black and queer sub-cultures, Rashaad Newsome utilizes his artwork as a means to explore the concept of identity in numerous permutations. His latest work, on view in Stop Playing in My Face!, takes this idea one step further as the 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 transgender and cisgender 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. As in Newsome’s earlier works, these collages are shown in ornate Dutch-style frames specifically inspired by the collection of Dutch masterworks housed at the Metropolitan Museum, referencing moments in Renaissance art and architecture history. The collages also recall the work of Dada artist Hannah Hoch, while simultaneously utilizing the frames as extensions of the works themselves.
Reiterating the themes present within the collages is the title work, Stop Playing in My Face!. The nine-minute video serves as the nucleus of show transforming all of the conceptual themes into animated embodiments of Newsome’s collage figures set to an original score created in collaboration with LA-based DJ and producer Hit Maker Chinx.
The figures in the video exist in a state of dissociative identity disorder, characterized by the appearance of several very distinct identities such as feminist author and activist Bell Hooks, YouTube personality and ballroom legend Samantha James Revlon and Trans Activist Janet Mock. Similar to the other works in the exhibition, the figures populating the video can be easily interpreted as voguers, a long-term interest of Newsome’s and one that informs much of his work – legendary ballroom icon Leiomy Maldonado makes several appearances. As with the collages, the roles of gender, sexuality, identity, race, and agency reflect a complex intersectionality that sheds light on how these social constructs are navigated in today’s society.
Newsome lives and works in New York City. He was born in 1979 in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he received a BFA in Art History at Tulane University in 2001. In 2004, he received a certificate of study in Digital Post Production from Film/Video Arts Inc. (NYC). In 2005 he studied MAX/MSP Programming at Harvestworks Digital Media Art Center (NYC). He has exhibited and performed in galleries, museums, institutions, and festivals throughout the world including: The Whitney Museum (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 San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (CA), and The New Britain Museum of American Art (CT). In 2010 he participated in the Whitney Biennial (NYC), and in 2011 Greater New York at MoMA PS1 (NYC). His many honors and awards for his work include a 2016 New York Live Arts Commissioning, a 2014 Headlands Center for the Arts Visiting Artist Residency, a 2011 The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, a 2010 Urban Artist Initiative Individual Artist Grant, and a 2009 Rema Hort Mann Foundation Visual Arts Grant. He is currently the 2016 Gateway Project and Tamarind Institute artist-in-residence.
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