Shade Compositions SFMOMA and The King Of Arms Ballroom Floor installation on view at Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid Spain


17 NOVEMBER 2017 – 6 MAY 2018


ELEMENTS OF VOGUE considers the manifold ways in which minorities use their bodies to produce dissenting forms of beauty, subjectivity, and desire. These minor poetics are perceived as a threat to the normative world, and yet craved by mainstream culture—as exemplified by Madonna’s exploitation of the aesthetics of vogue. Looking into the debates, conflicts, and cultural struggles surrounding voguing as a case study in radical performance, Elements of Vogue tackles the intricate dynamics of assimilation and resistance. This is not an exhibition “about” voguing, but an essay that unfolds in multiple directions by looking at the queer body as an archive, in order to map out the different subjectivities, affective legacies, and embodied histories that come together in ballroom culture. Voguing, then, reveals itself as a case study to understand the emergence of pose, and its ability to articulate new social forms. The exhibition traces the networks of affiliation that shape the lives of those who cohabit in the space of the undercommons, and the strategies that enable them to dismantle the hegemonic categories of race, sex, and gender. Because a pose is sometimes enough to interrupt the process of normalisation, and the least of gestures can put history on hold.

Rashaad Newsome and Emmanuel Iduma in conversation.

Rashaad Newsome and writer Emmanuel Iduma in conversation on the occasion of Newsome’s most recent presentation, ‘Reclaiming Our Time’, on view at De Buck Gallery, as well as on the occasion of his new immersive performance piece RUNNING at the Park Avenue Armory.

This evening is hosted by De Buck Gallery on November 8th 2017 6-8pn. RSVP is essential via

Emmanuel Iduma is the author of The Sound of Things to Come (first published as Farad in Nigeria), and A Stranger’s Pose, a forthcoming travelogue (Cassava Republic Press, 2018). He co-edited Gambit: Newer African Writing. His essays on art and photography have been published widely, including in ArtNews, Guernica, Aperture, and Brooklyn Rail. He is editor of Saraba Magazine, and a faculty member of the MFA Art Writing program at the School of Visual Arts, New York. He was also the associate curator of the Nigeria Pavilion at the 2017 Venice Biennale.

Rashaad Newsome announced as part of CTM Berlin Festival 2018

This January Rashaad Newsome will be participating in the CTM Berlin Festival with his electric performance FIVE.

CTM 2018 Turmoil explores the state of music and sound practice in the face of a confusing and critical present: What is the sound of turmoil? What are aesthetics of tumult? Which other sonic and musical responses could we conceive of to counter the current overload of agitation? As it inquires into these questions, this CTM edition also renews and strengthens a commitment to welcoming a wide range of artists and audiences with diverse backgrounds.

In “FIVE Berlin”, another multi-night showcase at HAU2 exploring the crossroads of movement and sound, multidisciplinary American artist Rashaad Newsome will investigate African, European, and North-American roots in the NYC underground dance tradition, vogueing. Accompanied by a makeshift orchestra comprised of NY-based Mc. Princess Mami Precious, baritone opera singer Justin Austin, and five local musicians, five dancers represent – and perform – each of the five individual elements of vogue femme. Using video game controllers and custom motion tracking software, Newsome maps and visualizes the movement patterns of dancers in real time. During the performance, drawing, music, dance, and technology collide and build into a beautifully structured crescendo of sound and movement. The project is kindly supported by the Capital Cultural Fund.

From 26 January – 4 February 2018, CTM 2018 returns to its constellation of exciting nightlife and cultural venues in Berlin, including HAU Hebbel am Ufer, Berghain, YAAM, and Festsaal Kreuzberg.

For more info and tickets:

ICON on view at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University.



October 31 -December 3rd ‘ICON’ will be on view at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, as part of theDigital Bodies exhibition program. Digital Bodies is a one-year program that features videos by artists who use and manipulate digital technologies—mainly computer-generated images, signs, and systems sourced from digital platforms—to reflect on how these technologies have impacted our everyday lives and changed the ways we relate to the world. Given our current state of constant digital expansion and acceleration, these works express the pervasiveness and indispensability of digital culture in shaping our daily interactions.

Rashaad Newsome-RUNNING-At Park Avenue Armory-Tuesday, November 7 at 7:00pm and 9:00pm

Tuesday, November 7 at 7:00pm and 9:00pm Rashaad Newsome will present his newest performance work at Park Avenue Armory titled RUNNING, an immersive performance evoking an abstract portrait of soul created through light and voice. RUNNING is centered on the musicology term for a singer’s improvised embellishment; a “vocal run” is a rapid series of ascending or descending musical notes sung in quick succession. Running is a vocal effect that spans a variety of musical genres from the 19th century to today. Newsome’s dynamic performance features three local New York City vocalists performing an original score composed by the artist, inspired by samples of vocal runs by Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle, Whitney Houston, Marvin Gaye, B.B. King, James Brown, and Kelly Price, among others. Click on the link below to buy tickets.


Rashaad Newsome – Reclaiming Our Time At De Buck Gallery, New York 11/01/2017 – 12/09/2017


Rashaad Newsome – Reclaiming Our Time


Alok Vaid-Menon

In order to reclaim something, it must have been stolen. Call it cubism (not tribal art). Call it gender (not Black). Call it museum (not Ghana). Call it new (not ancient). They say that the first people annihilated upon colonial contact were gender non-conforming. I wonder, if given the time, they would have been able to convince us that they were not, in fact, men wearing dresses. That neither them nor the garments they adorned, nor the statues they adored were gendered. What does it mean to be a not? To be defined by absence? The most sophisticated critique is one which unsettles the very foundation of the question to begin with. Are you a man or a woman? No. From the cover of Vogue, to the New Museum, the rat race ‘beyond the binary’ has commenced and everyone is haphazardly scampering toward it. Everyone that is, except Rashaad Newsome. He is sitting on a stool in his new exhibition RECLAIMING OUR TIME shaking his head, maybe even amused. When you throw a word like “race,” or “woman,” or even “African,” or “American,” on one of Newsome’s creations, it just doesn’t stick. Like an undercooked piece of spaghetti on a fridge it droops and eventually falls into its own insignificance. In a moment defined by reactionary politics, righteous moral indignation on all sides, and the desire for absolute answers and truths, Newsome invites us to stay a while, take a seat, dig deeper. How do you depict an image that does not exist? I mean, no longer exists? I mean, was stolen? I mean, could exist here right now if we wanted it to? You look at history to remember a future. Building off his celebrated exhibition STOP PLAYING MY FACE, Newsome remembers a future. He pairs nontraditional weaves from African American beauty shows with traditional Africa statues, his old work with his new work, luxury with idolatry, novelty with antiquity, and – for a moment – when gazing upon his subjects gazing upon themselves, there is a sense of resolution, therapy even. Perhaps the cohesion we seek comes from developing a different relationship with the complexity we fear. In Newsome’s work there are no rules: oppositionality becomes compatibility, an ocean is swallowed and spat back out (simultaneously), the clock stops, rewinds, and fast-forwards at the same time. This is what happens when queerness begins with race, and not the other way around. Newsome has a tendency toward the impossible: he takes subjects disappeared from time and history and exalts them – fighting for abundance where others see absence and insisting on a futurity in that which has been deposed. And in that move he teaches us that what we are looking for is already here. Has always been.

ICON at Madison Museum of Contemporary Art August 11, 2017 to December 3, 2017

On view in the museum’s Imprint Gallery, this exhibition focuses solely on the video-based component of the artist’s larger practice, and highlights works that showcase his engagement with the dance phenomenon of voguing. Although voguing emerged from Harlem’s queer ballroom scene during the 1960s and 70s, the dance style entered the cultural mainstream in 1990 with Madonna’s iconic music video “Vogue,” now remembered as a notorious instance of cultural appropriation. Newsome, however, celebrates the true origins of voguing, thereby reclaiming a vital cultural history by giving it back to the queer Black and Latino community from which it arose.

The exhibition includes Untitled (2008) and Untitled—New Way (2009), two of Newsome’s earlier works that document contemporary vogue culture: the artist filmed dancers’ vogue improvisations, edited the footage to isolate certain dance elements, and asked the dancers re-perform their movements based on his video-edited choreography. Also on view are two of the artist’s more recent video works, ICON (2014) and Stop Playing in My Face (2016), both of which weave together the exuberant pageantry of voguing with digitally-rendered backdrops of glittering architectural spaces. At a moment when individuals of all races are questioning sex and gender-based binaries, Newsome’s videos offer a timely examination of cultural power and agency within the context of gender, sexuality, and race.

KNOT on view at the The McNay Art Museum August 8, 2017 to January 5, 2018

Combining baroque grandeur, hip-hop swagger, and black and LGBTQ subcultures, Rashaad Newsome creates evocative works of art that highlights fantasy, capitalistic obsessions, and systemic oppressions. The opulence of fashion magazines and society culture is subverted through the vocabulary of voguing, the New York ballroom scene, and New Orleans bounce music. Newsome applies a keen awareness of art historical and alternative cultural sources to offer pointed commentaries on contemporary culture and identity politics. On the McNay’s AT&T Lobby wall, the artist presents the video KNOT, 2014, floating over an entire wall wrapped in his striking Jungle Gardenia print.



Newsome will work in Detroit over the summer engaging local communities and preparing for a parade, a video installation at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and a performance at the Detroit Film Theater.

Connecting diverse local communities, King of Arms will enliven the streets of Midtown in the tradition of a second line brass band. Acknowledging Detroit’s integral connection to music, the parade will be led by the storied Cass Technical High School Marching Band and the Gabriel Brass Band. The procession will feature the Miami Bike Life motorcycle crew; members of the Detroit Vogue scene; Newsome’s NYC troop the Vogue Knights; Philadelphia LGBTQ rapper Kevin JZ Prodigy; and a King of Arms float, a customized Ford F150 truck wrapped in the artist’s imagery. Drawn to the city’s history and exciting future the artist remarked, “Detroit is a place that I find incredibly inspiring, it is a privilege to be invited to work in the city and partner with its community. Over time, the city has both prospered and suffered making it a poignant and challenging place to conduct the King of Arms mass processional performance and Shade Composition. At the core of these projects is my interest in highlighting performance practices and communities that I feel connected to personally while giving those who often feel silenced, a voice.”

Throughout the summer Newsome will be working in Detroit casting local performers and staging rehearsals for Shade Composition, the artist’s critically acclaimed performance artwork which concludes the DLECTRICITY festival at 8 p.m. on September 23rd at the Detroit Film Theater located within the Detroit Institute of Arts. In this signature performance, the artist is both conductor and vocal choreographer leading an ensemble of locally cast self-identifying Black female performers whose individual voices and gestures are synthesized to form improvisatory orchestral music collaged with live video and audio mixed using hacked video game controllers. Costumes for the performers will be designed by Rick Owens.