Rashaad Newsome

Black Magic: FIVE SFMOMA Prints

New York Live Arts Lobby
Sept 2019 – March 2020
Free to the public
Please RSVP below


An expansion of the digital data captured during his 2016 FIVE SFMOMA performance. Using 3D data obtained during the live performance, he translated the fierce, spiraling movements of five vogue dancers to the two-dimensional surface of the prints. In collaboration with Tamarind Institute, ten plates were created and printed using traditional lithographic methods. In keeping with his expansive, interdisciplinary method of working, Newsome brought 3D printing and collage into the project, incorporating three-dimensional printed forms, and collaged images of the of dancers body into each print. The suite includes five distinct prints representing each of the five dancers. This series incorporates a complex layering of performance, ephemeral and recorded movement, traditional printing and digital technology, bringing a new vibrancy and dimensionality to the printed surface.
Interdisciplinary artist Rashaad Newsome’s multipart project, Black Magic, at Philadelphia Photo Arts Center and New York Live Arts, is a holistic reflection on agency, Blackness, and the futurity of intersectional identities and oppression. To Be Real, is an exhibition of all new work in collage and sculpture. At the conceptual center of To Be Real, which takes its name from Cheryl Lynn’s 1977 queer anthem, is Newsome’s ‘child,’ a cloud-based, A.I. being named Being (2019), whose mind has been populated with the works of radical authors, revolutionaries, theorists such as Paulo Freire, Michel Foucault, bell hooks, Janet Mock, and the like. Being acts as a critical guide to the exhibition, exploring ideas agency and hegemony within artificial intelligence. Also on view is Ancesista a fully 3D version of the neo cubist figures seen in the more 2D collages suspended in a Vogue dip. Though formally it takes an assemblage approach, it is analogous to cubism, which is heavily investigated in many of the works in the exhibition. The substrate is an African mahogany torso of a non-binary figure, who’s face is inspired by the female Pho mask from the Chokwe peoples of the Congo. As a way to queer the object, the lower body is a lifelike sex doll, thus making the work one to one of the figures in the collages. Outfitted in drag padding, a custom wig, acrylic nails, high heel boots, and a costume that fuses traditional African and drag ballroom aesthetics, the piece draws from life itself – intuitive, honest and tied to the culture that inspired it.

BLACK MAGIC is generously supported by the William Penn Foundation with additional support from New Music USA and the MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Additional support provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and Partners for New Performance.