Rashaad Newsome  Untitled (New Way)  2009

Rashaad Newsome Untitled (New Way) 2009


ArtForum Critic's Picks 2011

During a fall season when Occupy Wall Street and kindred resistance movements have sprouted up and are accruing strength around the globe, the body in space has become a site of renewed attention and possibility. The set of questions and explorations that unfold throughout the Dance/Draw exhibition currently on view at The Institute of Contemporary Art Boston could not have come at a more apt time. In an expansive thematic investigation of mark-­making that begins on the page and then leaps into space as dance, the constraints of normative behavior—in both the quotidian and in the more particular realms of art—are questioned, pushed at, toppled. What are the ways in which movement, whether it be of snails in sand or people in parking lots, can unsettle relations of power that write themselves in and on the body, coursing through space in the form of expectation?  

The exhibition, curated by Helen Molesworth, insists that viewers not exempt themselves from the embodied explorations they see before them. We too are bodies in three dimensions, moving through private space that has been opened to the public: how will we move? 

In a dark room devoted exclusively to film and video, a small cubicle houses Klara Lidén’s 2003 Paralyzed that partakes in one of the show’s many moments of masterful curation. If one sits up tall inside the dark viewing booth, the huge projection of Rashaad Newsome’s 2009 Untitled (New Way) is plainly visible above its edge. Lidén’s body jumps and writhes as if releasing something while onlookers stare inside a streetcar in Stockholm. Just above her the male dancer in Newsome’s video snaps precise poses within the walls of a white room while staring into the camera. These two bodies resonate with each other: they need to move, and through that movement, they undo the strictures of the spaces that enclose them— and so might we.