Rashaad Newsome’s practice is deeply rooted in the queer black community based in Harlem, making his new solo exhibition, THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO SEE, at the Studio Museum a natural extension. The exhibition consists of collages and videos that reference and pay tribute to the Vogue scene, which sprouted in the 1970s within the queer ballroom community.
“The works in the show at the Studio Museum in Harlem were created between 2008-2014. The works are focused on the dance form Vogue and its community. A community I have been a part of and collaborating with for over 10 years now.”
Newsome critically investigates the appropriation of Vogue in popular culture during the 1990’s and is interested in highlighting the social and political aspects of the scene as well as the intense physical requirements needed to participate.
“My friend and curator Amanda Hunt had a front row seat in watching this work develop and she has always been particularly interested in the social practice side of the work. With the exhibition we wanted to draw attention to that, as well as how omnipresent the gesture of collage was in the work, how I used it to transform what started out as this sort of formal portrait of this performance practice into a much more abstract exploration of the body and architecture.”
The results are collaged images of golden and silver chains, watches and cars combined into video game-like graphics that are merged with sharp digital beats and the aggressive yet graceful movements of solitary dancers. The large-scale video is hypnotizing and invigorating, while the other video pieces allow for a closer examination of the dance movements.
The delicate works on paper, collaged together from advertisements for cars, watches and jewelry, blossom from their black backdrops like flowers. The symbols in the collages as well as the thick and elaborate frames all point to the heavy ornamentation in Hip Hop culture.
THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO SEE will be on view until June 26th, 2016.
Like this article? Check out Perverse Instantiations In A Project Space In Clinton Hill and other global art news.