Current Exhibitions

Rashaad Newsome

Silence Please, the Show is About to Begin

8 April – June 14, 2015

Opening Reception: Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 6 – 9 pm

Rashaad Newsome’s first Canadian exhibition, Silence Please, the Show is About to Begin, brings together a selection of recent video, performance, and collage works by this New York based artist that explore the constructions of gender, race, and class. Newsome works directly with vogue ball dancers in New York and appropriates the work of hip-hop legends to create new narratives that challenge the narrow view of what it means to be black and queer.

Through his video mash-ups, collages, and concerts, Newsome redefines ideas about masculinity, gender performance, and the communication of status. Like the showmanship on display in bling culture, Newsome doesn’t shy away from spectacle. The compositions are big, bright, and bold. In an explosion of light and colour, images drip with gold chains, diamond rings, and jewel studs. The aim, however, is not to glorify the glamour of luxury goods and status of aristocratic heraldry but to fuse them with positive images of black culture in order to create a new vision of art that links the two.

Through sampling, clashing, and choreographing the iconic works of hip-hop artists and the legendary moves of ballroom superstars with motifs from Baroque architecture, images of European heraldry, and tales from medieval poems, Newsome reveals a rich and complicated new representation of Blackness and queerness. These compositions topple traditional ideas of high culture to reconfigure it in relation to revalorized notions of black popular culture.

Silence Please, the Show is About to Begin is an Images Festival Off Screen exhibition curated by AGYU Assistant Curator Suzanne Carte.

Rashaad Newsome received a BA in Art History at Tulane University before studying Film at Film Video Arts NYC and music production and programming at Harvestworks NYC. His work has been exhibited, screened, and performed internationally, such as in the 2010 Whitney Biennial, MoMA PS1; Performa 2011, and the 2011 Venice Biennale.

Get on the Performance Bus!

Speed Dating for (Non)Dancers

What is your relationship with dance? How do you understand and define yourself as a dancer or non-dancer? Led by Toronto-based choreographer Cara Spooner, this iteration of AGYU’s Performance Bus is about exploring your feelings, thoughts, and personal experiences with dance (without having to bust a move) while en route to the exhibition opening of Silence Please…. Speed Dating for (Non)Dancers engages with dance definitions and personal experiences, and where they intersect – simultaneously attempting to articulate embodied experiences on a moving bus.

The free Performance Bus departs OCADU (100 McCaul St.) on Wednesday, 8 April 2015, at 6 pm sharp and returns downtown at 9 pm.

Cara Spooner is a Toronto-based choreographer working in dance, performance art, and theatre. Her interest in movement and urbanism has led her to create performances in non-proscenium contexts as well as develop alternative mapping strategies. Select credits include Body Cartography (2010), 8037 (2011), Invitations/Into/Traces (2012) and Concord Floral (2014). She is a founding member of the Nomadic Curatorial Collective.

Public Window

8 – 19 April, 2015

1575 Dundas Street West, Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Public Studio hosts Untitled and Untitled (New Way) (2010) by Rashaad Newsome as part of their Public Window series. Stark and unadorned, the videos catalogue styles, variations, and gestures of dancers in the New York ballroom community, illustrating traditional movements and adding new moves to the repertoire.

3rd Annual Awards Ball

Saturday, 11 April 2015, 7:30 – 11:00 pm

The Underground, Student Centre, York University

The Toronto Kiki Ballroom Alliance (TKBA), first recipients of the annual Spirit of Will Munro Award, is a youth-led organization that provides youth with the opportunity to gain self-confidence using the ballroom arts. Working with new and experienced dancers, TKBA hosts the 3rd Annual Awards Ball at The Underground (York University Student Centre) with special guests Rashaad Newsome and Philadelphia-based DJ Delish.

AGYU Vitrines

Got a Phil Collins’ tune stuck in your head? Blame it on Daniel Cockburn’s I Can Feel It in AGYU Vitrines. Silently rocking out along the Accolade East Building’s corridor, each of the three videos bear a famous Collins’ song with the exact same rhythm and tempo. Lyrics of Collins’ flash on the screen one word at a time: you can feel it in the air… and hear it in your head.

Currently completing his Masters in Film/Cinema and Media Studies at York University, Cockburn is a writer, director, and video maker and has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions internationally. He is the second artist presented in the AGYU’s new series of commissioned works by York MFA and PhD students.

Audio Out

TravoyintheFlesh will be getting you pumped with the exhibition soundtrack at our Audio Out listening post. Get ready to walk the hallway. These beats and chants will get the “gurls” screaming and shouting up. Warning: these sounds will be fab, fierce, and fun.

Originally from Jamaica, TravoyintheFlesh is a multi-disciplinary artist and activist majoring in Sociology at York University. He is a pioneer of the ballroom scene in Toronto: Mother of the House of Monroe, Chair of the Toronto Kiki Ballroom Alliance, and Canada Father for The Legendary Royal House of Old Navy.