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Past Event Rashaad Newsome: Shade Compositions

A man standing in front of a wall with white wallpaper with silver crosses on it. Behind him is a large, black gross with small gold designs and a round gold design is immediately behind his head. He is looking at the camera and is wearing a blue, button-down shirt.

Photo by Seth Caplan

Rashaad Newsome, renowned New York based artist, will make his Pittsburgh debut of Shade Compositions, an ongoing performance project that launched in 2005. Throughout the Fall of 2018, Newsome will be working in Pittsburgh, casting local performers, and staging rehearsals for Shade Compositions, the artist’s critically acclaimed performance. In this performance, Newsome is both conductor, composer and vocal choreographer, leading an ensemble of locally cast self-identifying black female and femme performers, whose individual voices and gestures are synthesized to form improvisatory orchestral music. Newsome explores the complexities of social power structures and questions of agency.

During the performance, Newsome collages video and audio using hacked video game controllers. For over a decade Newsome has engaged in casual, but extensive ethnographic and linguistic research into global iterations of “Black Vernacular”—a variety of English natively spoken by most working and middle-class African Americans, particularly in urban communities. Through his visually engaging and dynamic style of live performance and video, Newsome explores the complexities of social power structures and questions of agency.

This event is organized by Jessica Beck, the Milton Fine Curator of Art at The Andy Warhol Museum in conjunction with the exhibition Devan Shimoyama: Cry, Baby.

Rashaad Newsome was born in 1979 in New Orleans, and lives and works in New York City. He has exhibited and performed in galleries, museums, institutions, and festivals throughout the world including: Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, The Whitney Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Brooklyn Museum, MoMAPS1, SFMOMA, New Orleans Museum of Art, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France, The Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow, Russia, and MUSA, Vienna, Austria, and the recently inaugurated National Museum of African American History and Culture. Newsome’s work is in public collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The SFMOMA, The Studio Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and The McNay Art Museum of San Antonio. In 2010 he participated in the Whitney Biennial, and in 2011 in Greater New York at MoMAPS1.

Castings will take place at The Warhol and PearlArts Studios on the following dates:

The Warhol:
Wednesday, November 14, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Thursday, November 15, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Friday, November 16, 12–7 p.m.

PearlArts Studios, 201 N. Braddock Avenue, Pittsburgh:
Saturday, November 17, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Sunday, November 18, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Monday, November 19, 12–4 p.m.

Co-presented with PearlArts Studios.

PearlArts Studios


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