Black Magic with Rashaad Newsome

Presented by the UC Berkeley Department of Art Practice

Artist Rashaad 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 and truly interdisciplinary work, Newsome explores the complexities of social power structures and questions of agency. At the heart of his practice is the tenacity and resilience of marginalized communities to create globally celebrated cultural productions, despite living within what scholar bell hooks names 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. In his talk, Newsome will discuss his use of the diasporic tradition of improvisation and collage as a tool to achieve abstraction.

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