The UW–Madison Division of the Arts welcomed Rashaad Newsome as the Spring 2019 Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence.
The residency utilized collage as a jumping off point for exploring the formal techniques and methodology that support an interdisciplinary arts practice. Newsome worked with students, toggling between theoretical, historical, critical, creative, and practical modes. The goal was to instill a sense of inclusion and diversity into the way students think about their own work, encouraging them to use all means at their disposal to express complex, meaningful, and creative opinions about the issues that are most relevant to their lived experience.
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About the Artist
Rashaad Newsome is a multidisciplinary artist whose work blends several practices together including: collage, sculpture, film, music, computer programming and performance, to form an altogether new field. Newsome’s work is deeply invested in how images used in media and popular culture communicate distorted notions of power. He draws attention to the contributions that marginalized communities, whose culture is often absorbed and co-opted by mainstream advertising platforms, have made to pop culture and society in general.
Through his visually engaging interdisciplinary work, Newsome explores the complexities of social power structures and questions of agency. Using the diasporic tradition of improvisation, he crafts compositions that surprise in their associative potential and walk the tightrope between intersectionality, social practice and abstraction. At the heart of Newsome’s practice is the tenacity and resilience of marginalized communities to create globally celebrated cultural productions, despite living within what scholar bell hooks calls the capitalist, imperialist, white supremacist patriarchy. His work speaks to the power of the human spirit to reinvent and transform itself as evidenced in the Black and Queer cultural practices referenced and abstracted throughout the work.
The Spring 2019 Interdisciplinary Arts Residency Program was presented by the UW–Madison Division of the Arts and hosted by the Art Department with Professor Stephen Hilyard as lead faculty. Co-sponsors included the Chazen Museum of Art, Dance Department, First Wave Learning Community, The Studio Creative Arts Community, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing.
Hitmakerchinx (Rafael Anthony Martin) is an American dancer, DJ, and record producer from New York City. After first emerging in Brooklyn’s Caribbean neighborhoods, Flex Dance Music (FDM), the all-in-one dance and music movement championed by Nicki Minaj, Madonna,and Omarion, is poised to have its biggest year yet. One of FDM’s breakout stars is 26-year-old LA-via-BK producer/dancer HitmakerChinx, who can count everyone from Rihanna (who had him on her Anti World Tour) to renowned interdisciplinary artist Rashaad Newsome, who collaborated with him on the score for his critically acclaimed film STOP PLAYING IN MY FACE! FDM was originally produced to soundtrack Brooklyn flexing dance battles, with its bone breaking, gliding, and contorted movements, indebted to Jamaican bruk-up, it is not only visually breathtaking, but also sonically infectious, thanks to beats grounded in ’90s reggae and dancehall. Considered by many to be the dark, pulsing cousin of the reggae lite that’s become the Top 40 sound du jour, above all it’s a larger movement that’s finally bringing real Brooklyn-bred culture into the spotlight.
Frances Wang is an interdisciplinary artist, creative technologist, and a full-stack developer who encourages expression through art, performance, and the experience of both physical and virtual lives. She received a master of music in music technology from NYU and her bachelor of in multimedia design from Northumbria University. Her projects have been shown at 3LD Art + Technology Center, FILE Festival, ISEA, Made in NY Media Center by IFP, Harvestworks, Wassaic Project, Maker Faire New York, CultureHub, The Firehouse Space, Make Music New York festival, NordiCHI (Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction “HCl”) in Finland, and the International Conference on Live Interfaces in Portugal.
Resources + Media Mentions
- UW–Madison students and Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence, Rashaad Newsome, present “The Gesture of Collage as Practice” event on April 18
- Watch “STOP PLAYING IN MY FACE!” courtesy of Rashaad Newsome’s Vimeo channel.
- Read Q&A: Artist Rashaad Newsome sees his UW-Madison class as a collage, courtesy of The Cap Times
The Gesture of Collage as Practice
Course: Integrated Arts 310/610
Day/Time: Fridays / 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Location: Humanities 6321 (video classroom)
Credits: 3 | Limit: 20 | Prereq: None
Description:“The Gesture of Collage as Practice” was a hands-on studio class, in which Newsome used his interdisciplinary practice as a way to engage students in a wide range of collaging strategies including: paper collage, video collage, sound collage, creative coding, and performance, while exploring current discourses on race, sexuality, gender, performance, and art history. Through critical thinking, visiting artist workshops, and discussions, the students considered how applying critical thinking to contemporary art and cultural production can make for a more engaging experience for the maker and viewer.
Download the course flyer (PDF).
- Running had it’s regional premiere at This Time Tomorrow: Performing Arts Festival at Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati on April 11-12. The immersive performance evokes an abstract portrait of soul created through light and voice.
- Rashaad Newsome discussed his use of the diasporic tradition of improvisation and collage as a tool to achieve abstraction during Black Magic with Rashaad Newsome on April 22 at Berkley Art Museum.
- Rashaad Newsome: Melange is part of the Visiting Artists + Scholars Lecture Series at the San Francisco Art Institute on April 23.
- “Get Your 10s” explores the dance form of vogue femme as an expanding global phenomenon through the artistic work of Rashaad Newsome.
Sound Workshop + Flex Dance Demonstration
Hitmakerchinx will discuss his work as a DJ and emerging producer, followed by a DJ set of his original music. Hitmakerchinx will be joined by three FDM (Flex Dance Music) dancers who will demonstrate the form of flex dancing.
The Gesture of Collage as Practice
This final residency event will feature a collaborative group performance along with a visual art exhibition of collage works in a variety of mediums from students in Rashaad Newsome’s interdisciplinary arts course.