Born 1979 in New Orleans, Louisiana
Lives and Works in New York, New York
Rashaad Newsome has long been fascinated by the dance form known as vogue, which developed in New York’s gay ballroom scene in the 1960s and 1970s. Although it still thrives in that community, vogue remains marginalized, particularly in comparison to other contemporary dance forms. For this project, the artist invited performers into his studio to demonstrate various styles of the dance on camera. After editing the footage together to choreograph a new dance, Newsome returned this new video to the dancers to study the resulting dance. He asked the dancers to perform this new dance for the camera; Untitled and Untitled (New Way) are the products of these collaborations.
The dancers perform tirelessly for the camera, moving hypnotically to unheard music and seducing the viewer in a private dance. Through remixing and reframing, Newsome divorces voguing from its cultural and historical background, transforming the dance into a series of abstract movements. He explains, “I view these videos as drawings, with the dancers acting as my pen, creating lines, shapes, landscapes, and an array of narratives.” Newsome celebrates the origins and beauty of voguing, argues for its legitimacy as a dance form, and inserts it into the discourse of contemporary art and popular culture.
The Nifty 50: Rashaad Newsome
—T Magazine/The New York Times (February 2010)
"Project Spaces at Location One and White Columns"
—Village Voice (July 2008)
"The House Party Spirit in All Its Glory"
—The New York Times (December 2008)
"On the Hour: Artist-Curated Film Screening at Canada Gallery"
—Art in America Online (July 2009)
Biennial artist Rashaad Newsome introduces three of the Vogue dancers he works with. Their improvisational performance was shot on-site at Ramis Barquet Gallery in New York, where the artist's exhibition, Rashaad Newsome: Standards, was recently on view.