By Barri Bronston
When the thermometer starts to hover around 100, there may be no better place to cool off than an art museum or gallery. At least that's what the folks at the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and many other arts venues around town think.
On Friday, the first day of summer, the New Orleans Museum of Art kicks off the third installment of its Great Hall exhibition series with a solo show by acclaimed video, performance and collage artist Rashaad Newsome.
Titled "Rashaad Newsome: King of Arms," the show explores the artist's passion for ornament, systems of heraldry and baroque grandeur. Newsome fuses signs of royalty and nobility with elements of hip-hop culture in his videos and collages.
One such example is his elaborate framed collage "Duke of NOLA," which features a central armorial shield topped at the crest with an image of hip-hop musician and New Orleans native Juvenile.
A native of New Orleans and a graduate of Tulane University, Newsome gained prominence in New York over the past decade as a result of his highly successful video and performance art pieces, which were featured in the Whitney Museum of American Art's 2010 Whitney Biennial.
He has also exhibited his work in museums throughout the world, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Hong Kong International Art Fair.
"NOMA's Great Hall series has been an outstanding platform for innovation in site-specific art," said Susan M. Taylor, director of the New Orleans Museum of Art. "Newsome brings a new dimension to this exciting series through the development and creation of a performance and video piece that responds to the unique cultural life of New Orleans."
The NOMA show is Newsome's first solo show in Louisiana, and it includes more than a dozen of his large-scale collages, many of which will be on public view for the first time. In addition, the exhibition will include a special video presentation of Newsome's "Herald" from 2011 in NOMA's second floor gallery of French paintings.