Rashaad Newsome's Swag Hits The NYC Art Scene

<p>The performance and media artist whose mashed-up compositions are always in vogue.</p>

Rashaad Newsome is no stranger to swag. This Creator’s work focuses on the fusion of high and low culture, a juxtaposition he masters with performance pieces like Hair Affair, which explores the origins of voguing. Newsome was featured in the 2010 Whitney Biennial, and now he brings his first solo show to New York City.

Herald debuted yesterday at Chelsea’s Marlborough Gallery. The exhibition features plenty of collage works culled from disparate sources, like baroque art and advertisements. Cool collages provide a playground for the eyes, epitomizing the artist’s high-low aesthetic. Newsome provided a soundtrack to his show in the form of an extended music video of sorts: Swag The Mix Tape. Running five tracks long, Swag‘s form is a nod to hip-hop’s early distribution methods, when the only way to access and spread new music was by passing around mix tapes. As Newsome is a master of videography, the visuals that accompany the mix are as transfixing as we’d expect: dancing girls, densely packed limbs and plenty of dazzling bling.

Let Them Eat Cakes, collage in customized antique frame.

And Newsome plans to add another interactive element to Herald next month. On November 2, he’ll host and participate in Tournament, a live rap battle performance in the gallery. Dubbing the presentation a “joust,” Newsome himself will compete with ten rappers in a spirited spectacle and celebration of the hip-hop culture that he finds so inspiring.

Watch Swag The Mix Tape exclusively at the New York Times Arts Beat. Herald is on view at the Marlborough Gallery through December 3.