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Marlborough Chelsea opens first solo exhibition by multi-media artist Rashaad Newsome
Rashaad Newsome, Herald 2011. Single channel video with sound in customized frame, running time: 12 minutes.
NEW YORK, N.Y.- The Directors of Marlborough Gallery announce the opening of Rashaad Newsome’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. A multi-media artist, Newsome will present his dramatic and opulent new collages, sculpture, video and installations on both floors of Marlborough Chelsea. The exhibition continues through December 3, 2011.

Rashaad Newsome’s work comprises a visual vocabulary that combines high neo-Baroque style with low pop-advertising imagery in obsessively-handmade collages. His richly detailed compositions form a kind of Rosetta stone for the hip-hop culture. Newsome culls familiar images of luxury goods from glossy consumer magazines: sports gear, jewel-encrusted brooches, rings, watches, furs and yachts, which he meticulously affixes in richly layered compositions with patterned backgrounds and a distinctive use of central space with crests and shields built from unexpected details.

The age-old theme of heraldry is brought into the 21st century by Newsome. Evident in this exhibition is his ongoing interest in the practice of designing and displaying coats of arms and heraldic achievements. Traditional symbols are updated with new meaning. In Black Barbie, 2011, Newsome pays tribute to the female rapper Nicki Minaj. He creates a feminine coat of arms with luxe details composed against an intricate background. Basing his design upon a page in Owen Jones’ 19th-century manifesto, The Grammar of Ornament, Newsome has replaced academic line with overlapping cut-outs of Cuban-link gold chain. Rhinestone brooches replace traditional flora and fauna. A custom-painted pink, green and silver frame that reflects the candy-colored automobiles in the rapper’s music videos puts an ultra-feminine spin on things.

Newsome mounts his larger collages in refashioned antique frames that are elaborately embellished with his signature crowns, gold chain link and chromed wheel rims to create objects of opulence that push the envelope of the ornate to the edge of flamboyance. He brings cut-and-paste collage into the realm of monumental history painting, with the narrative focused on the status symbols in his contemporary community.

Also on view will be Newsome’s video installation, Herald, filmed in New York’s Old St. Patrick’s Basilica. The video dramatically chronicles the artist’s ceremonial coronation as a herald, a chapter in a fictional quest that runs through Newsome’s performance work. Shot in black and white, the action plays out against an original score composed by the artist. Swag, 2011, a mix tape of five tracks on which Newsome collaborated with virtuoso musicians including Laurie Anderson, Stefanos Koroneos, and Maluca Mala, will be synched with a series of high definition animated videos.

On November 2, in conjunction with Performa 11, the artist will debut a new performance in the gallery entitled Tournament. He will host a freestyle rap battle between ten emerging new Yorkbased emcees to be judged by five cultural impresarios.

Newsome was born in New Orleans in 1979 and currently lives and works in New York. The artist’s first solo museum exhibition, Matrix 161: Rashaad Newsome, was held at The Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT in early 2011. His work was also recently exhibited in the 2010 Whitney Biennial at The Whitney Museum of American Art, Greater New York 2010 at MoMA PS1 and Dance/Draw at the ICA Boston. Forthcoming projects and performances will include Hair Affair at the Miami Art Museum’s “Party in the Plaza” on December 1st, 2011, Shade Compositions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in April 2012 and SEVEN, a solo exhibition and performance at The Drawing Center, New York, NY, in November 2012.





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