Rashaad Newsome’s Black Magic: To Be Real

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Rashaad Newsome’s Black Magic: To Be Real

September 12, 2019 - November 30, 2019

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Interdisciplinary artist Rashaad Newsome’s multipart project, Black Magic, is presented by the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center, Icebox Project Space and New York Live Arts. Black Magic is a holistic reflection on agency, Blackness, and the futurity of intersectional identities and oppression. Part of the project is the exhibition To Be Real:

To Be Real is a multimedia exhibition that meditates on the contemporary magic and radical future of artificial intelligence. The conceptual center of To Be Real is Newsome’s ‘child,’ the cloud-based, A.I. creation Being (2019). Being’s mind has been populated with the works of radical authors, revolutionaries, and theorists including Paulo Freire, Michael Foucault, bell hooks, and Janet Mock, and will be further influenced by interactions with audiences. Beingexplores their own existence and the state of the world into which it has been ‘born,’ and confronts the reality that they are not free.

Being’s body is represented in the exhibition by a humanoid figurative sculpture – non-racial, non-binary, and comprised of materials traditional and futuristic. The sculptural collage of the body is echoed in To Be Real by new analog collages by Newsome that further explore the nature of identity. With candy-coated frames and non-binary bodies traversing multiple planes, these collages speak to the layering of identity, performance and consumption. These works function in tandem with Being, alluding to the same tension of subjective freedom.


The project is comprised of three separate elements: To Be Real, a presentation of Newsome’s ongoing critically acclaimed performance FIVE, and The Champion Ball, a vogue and performance competition.

Learn more here: https://www.philaphotoarts.org/event/rashaad-newsome-black-magic/?mc_cid=bec3376a70&mc_eid=c3cb848b7e

Opening Reception: Second Thursday, September 12, 6 – 8 pm

Panel discussion with Newsome and curator Jasmine Wahi: Thursday, October 17, 6 – 8 pm at the Rhoden Arts Center at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts!


September 12, 2019
November 30, 2019
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Philadelphia Photo Arts Center
1400 N American St #103
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