BATON ROUGE, LA — “Swag the Mix Tape, Vol. 1” is a series of videos and mixtapes from 2012 that includes original music produced by New Orleans-native Rashaad Newsome, in collaboration with an array of visual and recording artists, including Stefanos Koroneos, Kevin Jourdan Zion Prodigy, Laurie Anderson and Maluca Mala, among many others.
Through January 2014, the LSU Museum of Art will feature “Swag the Mix Tape, Vol. 1,” alongside 17th- and 18th-century portraits from the museum’s early collection, in an installation called “Portraiture: Style and Ornament.” The proximity of the museum’s traditional portraits with Newsome’s multi-sample mixtape videos puts a contemporary spin on questions about wealth, style and class.
Born in 1979, Newsome – a graduate of Tulane University – rose to prominence in New York during the last decade. His videos and performances were featured in the 2010 Whitney Biennial P.S.1’s “Greater New York” exhibition. Newsome has exhibited in museums throughout the United States and internationally, including the 2013 summer Great Hall exhibition at the New Orleans Museum of Art – the artist’s first solo exhibition in Louisiana.
Natalie Mault, curator of the LSU Museum of Art, said she first thought of Newsome as a potential partner in considering new ways to make accessible the LSU Museum of Art’s collection to a wide audience.
“The LSU Museum of Art has an extensive collection of early American and European portraiture, but these works can be somewhat unrelatable, especially to younger audiences,” she said. “The juxtaposition between the museum’s traditional portraits and Newsome’s videos helps to bring a relevance to the paintings and strengthen the content of the videos.”
Newsome explores ornament, grandeur, aristocracy, and heraldry in new and different contexts. His works ask the viewer to cross centuries where “bling” has functioned as the language of power and status for kings and power-mongers alike. He released the music recording for “Swag the Mix Tape, Vol. 1” as a free, downloadable audio file, distributed on SoundCloud. Rooted in gestural expressions of hip-hop and vogue, Newsome’s mix tape project merges dance, animation, street culture, painting and music that has been manipulated using phonograph turntables and a DJ mixer.
“We wanted to invite our visitors to experience our historic collection in a new way, through the eyes of Rashaad Newsome, who blends urban life with imagery and ideals that belong to the ruling classes,” said LSU Museum of Art Executive Director Jordana Pomeroy.
The LSU Museum of Art will also present a series of exciting educational programs including lectures, gallery talks, art making workshops and interactive school tours for all ages, designed to further explore the exhibition. For more information or to schedule a tour, contact Lucy Perera, LSU Museum of Art coordinator of school and community programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org  or call (225) 389-7207.
General admission to the LSU Museum of Art is $5 each for adults and children age 13 and over. Admission is free to university faculty, staff, and students with ID, children age 12 and under, and museum members. Hours of operation are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.lsumoa.com  or call (225) 389-7200.