Still from Rashaad Newsom: Hands Performance

Rashaad Newsome: Hands Performance

On View September 16, 2023 – March 2, 2024

The first Los Angeles solo exhibition by the renowned video, performance, and collage artist.

Rashaad Newsome: Hands Performance debuts a video, co-commissioned with Somerset House Studios, and multimedia collages representing the artist’s continued exploration of mapping Black cultural production as a form of movement research, data storage and collective wayfinding.

Working with a team of Black Queer ASL interpreters, Los Angeles-based vogue fem performers, flex dancers and motion capture technicians, Newsome created their new video, Hands Performance, by translating an original poem into a movement dataset. The film's protagonist is Being (The Digital Griot), a social humanoid artificial intelligence that Newsome first envisioned in 2019. As Being transitions seamlessly between signing and dance, their movements express a uniquely Black and Queer non-verbal vernacular. The film combines stunning visuals with a highly energetic score filled with booming bass, synthetic snares, claps, and glitches, resulting in a futuristic sonic experience. Presented alongside the film is a selection of collage portraits that further articulate the afro-cybernetic world of the film.

Using the diasporic traditions of improvisation, Newsome draws from the world of advertising, the internet, art history, Black and Queer culture to produce counter-hegemonic work that walks the tightrope between social practice and abstraction. In their work, collage acts as a conceptual and technical means to construct a new visual, performative, and literary language that highlights the immaterial and material expressivity in Black American culture.

Newsome has exhibited and performed internationally at institutions including MoMA PS1, the Park Avenue Armory, Studio Museum, and Whitney Museum in New York; Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris; Moderna Museet Malmo; the Hayward Gallery and Somerset House in London. Among the many honors and awards the artist has received are an honorary Degree of Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of Connecticut (2023); a LACMA Art + Technology Lab Grant (2019); a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2017) and many others.

Hands Performance is a co-commission of ArtCenter College of Design and Somerset House Studios London. The exhibition is also supported by ArtCenter’s Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and LACMA Art + Technology.

February 16 - Artist Talk with Rashaad Newsome has been cancelled due to schedule conflicts.

Peter and Merle Mullin Gallery
South Campus
1111 S. Arroyo Parkway
Pasadena, CA 91105

Gallery Hours:

Wednesday to Saturday, 12 pm - 5 pm.
Reservations recommended.


still from Rashaad Newsome in conversation with curator Tamar Clarke-Brown

Rashaad Newsome in conversation with curator Tamar Clarke-Brown

Works in the Exhibition

Person wearing body tracking gear and the virtual representation of them

Gestures of Possibility