Rashaad Newsome videos portrayed alongside traditional portraits in LSU MOA exhibit
Rashaad Newsome will have four of his videos paired with American and European portraits at the LSU Museum of Art through January 2014. Here, a still from "Grand Duchess of Gainesville," 2011. Single channel video, 2:34 min. (PhImageoto couresy of the LSU MOA)
By Chelsea Brasted, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune Email the author | Follow on Twitter on September 22, 2013 at 10:00 AM, updated September 22, 2013 at 10:07 AM
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At first glance, pairing Rashaad Newsome'scontemporary mixtapes and videos with the LSU Museum of Art's 17th- and 18th-century American and European portraits might feel disjointed, but upon closer look the two represent thematic similarities -- if produced centuries apart. The museum's "Portraiture: Style and Ornament" exhibition was guest curated by Laura Blereau, and it grew out of the close of a New Orleans Museum of Art show featuring Newsome's work. As that exhibition wrapped up in New Orleans, LSU MOA was approached to possibly host some of Newsome's creations. Plans for exhibitions at LSU MOA begin about two years in advance, so fitting in Newsome's work seemed daunting at first until the natural fit with the portraits emerged, said Natalie Mault, curator at the LSU Museum of Art. "A lot of Newsome's inspiration, looking at the pieces, is obviously very new urban and contemporary rap and hip hop references," Mault said. "But it's also referencing a lot to do with the aristocracy and … things very relevant that you can see in our more traditional gallery." In "Swag the Mix Tape, Vol. 1," Newsome questions wealth, style and class, and in fact had a hand in choosing the pieces from the museum's permanent collection that would hang or stand beside his own work. "The exhibition you see up there is essentially four of his videos and a selection of nine paintings and prints he selected from the collection," Mault said. "Even that is an interesting concept, because you have not just an outside curator … but there's an outside artist who made this selection … in reference to things he's working on." The exhibition runs at the LSU Museum of Art through January 2014.