2017 Exhibition

DLECTRICITY™ took place during September 22 & 23, 2017, in Midtown Detroit and showcased 36 artists from Detroit and around the world from the DIA to MOCAD.

King of Arms Parade / Shade Composition / Phantasm

1. King of Arms Parade / Shade Composition / Phantasm

LOCATION:  The Detroit Institute of Arts campus / The Detroit Film Theater

Headlining artist Rashaad Newsome launches DLECTRICITY on Friday, September 23 at 7 PM with King of Arms Procession.

Connecting diverse local communities, King of Arms enlivens the streets of Midtown in the tradition of a second line brass band. Acknowledging Detroit’s integral connection to music, the parade will be led by the storied Cass Technical High School Marching Band and the Gabriel Brass Band.  The procession will feature the Miami Bike Life motorcycle crew; members of the Detroit Vogue scene; Newsome’s NYC troop the Vogue Knights; Philadelphia LGBTQ rapper Kevin JZ Prodigy; the Detroit East Side Riders; and a King of Arms float, a customized Ford F150 truck wrapped in the artist’s imagery. Drawn to the city’s history and exciting future the artist remarked, “Detroit is a place that I find incredibly inspiring, it is a privilege to be invited to work in the city and partner with its community. Over time, the city has both prospered and suffered making it a poignant and challenging place to conduct the King of Arms mass processional performance and Shade Composition. At the core of these projects is my interest in highlighting performance practices and communities that I feel connected to personally while giving those who often feel silenced, a voice.”  

Throughout the summer Newsome will be working in Detroit casting local performers and staging rehearsals for Shade Composition, the artist’s critically acclaimed performance artwork which concludes the DLECTRICITY festival at 8 p.m. on September 23rd at the Detroit Film Theater located within the Detroit Institute of Arts. In this signature performance, the artist is both conductor and vocal choreographer leading an ensemble of locally cast self-identifying Black female performers whose individual voices and gestures are synthesized to form improvisatory orchestral music collaged with live video and audio mixed using hacked video game controllers. Costumes for the performers will be designed by Rick Owens.

Newsome also presents a new video commission, Phantasm, in the DIA Great Hall. A new video mapping piece on the archway of the Great Hall, this piece runs throughout the hours of DLECTRICITY.

A full schedule of events, including times and locations for King of Arms Procession and Shade Compositions, can be found here.

Rashaad Newsome was proposed as the 2017 DLECTRICITY artist-in-residence by Hyphen, an artist management firm founded by Andrea Glimcher. Hyphen is an advisor and advocate for artists, estates, and institutions.

Rashaad Newsome’s projects are supported by:




Artist Information

Rashaad Newsome

Rashaad Newsome

Rashaad Newsome (b.1979) has exhibited and performed in galleries, museums, institutions, and festivals worldwide, most notably at The Studio Museum in Harlem; The National Museum of African American History and Culture, Washington D.C.; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum; MoMAPS1, New York; SFMOMA; New Orleans Museum of Art; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; The Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, Moscow; and Museum Startgalerie Arothek, Vienna.

Newsome’s work is in numerous public collections including the Studio Museum Harlem; The Whitney Museum of American Art; The Brooklyn Museum of Art; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and The New Britain Museum of American Art. Newsome participated in the 2010 Whitney Biennial, and the 2011 MoMA PS1 exhibition, Greater New York.  Newsome’s honors and awards include the 2017 Rush Arts Gold Rush Award, the 2014 Headlands Center for the Arts Visiting Artist Residency, a 2011 The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award, a 2010 Urban Artist Initiative Individual Artist Grant, and a 2009 Rema Hort Mann Foundation Visual Arts Grant.  In 2014 Newsome was a Woodward Lecturer at the College for Creative Studies, Detroit.