“[Rashaad Newsome] is a sophisticated, canny interpreter of the complexity of surfaces, colors, and images…the work is consistently rewarding on an intellectual level.”

“[Newsome’s] work is irreverent and brazen. It is deeply referential. It is decisive. It is disruptive. It is king.”
Forbes Magazine

Assembly, a new multi-experiential work by interdisciplinary artist Rashaad Newsome, commissioned by Park Avenue Armory, transforms the Armory’s expansive Wade Thompson Drill Hall into an exhibition space, performance hall, classroom, and theater. During the day, upon entering the Drill Hall, visitors will encounter many dimensions of Newsome’s practice: video-mapped walls that pulsate with projected imagery of computer-generated diasporic fractals inspired by the geometry within traditional African culture; a 30-foot-tall hologram sculpture of vogue performers morphing and transforming; and collage and sculptural works that merge and mutate images of Black and Black Queer culture, fashion, West African sculptures, textiles, and masks with 19th-century ebony Dutch-style frame. The next room contains Being who is at the center of Assembly. Being is a digital griot who generates poetry and models and instructs audiences in reflection, contemplation, movement, and dialogue. Being will lead three participatory workshops that teach decolonization through a combination of lecture, critical thinking, dance, storytelling, conversation, and mindfulness meditation. Visitors are invited to sign up in advance for the workshops, or simply observe from the theater seats. When not teaching, Being will recite poetry based on the work of queer poet Dazié Rustin Grego-Sykes. Being’s recitations will be backed by a soundscape composed by Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe.

In the evening, the work flows into performances featuring an international collective of dancers, singers, musicians, and MCs that celebrate the many facets of vogue culture in our world. Newsome’s residency at the Armory will culminate with the seventh edition of his King of Arms Art Ball, a live performance event and competition that brings together renowned figures from the LGBTQIA+ vogue community and luminaries from the worlds of art, fashion, music, literature, and activism. Rashaad says of his commission: “Assembly will offer audiences a new way of thinking about rights, liberty, and humanity, using the so rarely explored paradox of the Black experience and the advancement of technology as a jumping-off point. As visitors walk through the exhibition, they will be compelled to consider their relationship to technology and its connections to the culture of domination. Through explorations into the connections between quantum energy, Black sociality, and Black liberation movements, one thing becomes clear: the only way we will get to the future is together. This type of beloved togetherness starts with a real reboot.”

Salon: Captcha: Dancing, Data, Liberation
Sunday, February 20, 2022
Tickets: $25 (plus fees)

Buy Tickets

In conjunction with Assembly, the Armory will present Captcha: Dancing, Data, Liberation, a salon that brings Newsome together with several of his collaborators on the project, alongside additional artists and scholars, for a performance showcase previewing the evening sessions and roundtable conversations about the pursuit of personal and collective liberation. The event, which lifts up Newsome’s work, will include two roundtables exploring the issues of technology in addressing race, and feature panelists such as scholar and writer Saidiya Hartman; multidisciplinary artist Kiyan Williams; Stanford University professor Michele Elam, who also serves as Faculty Associate Director at the University’s Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence; artist, curator, and composer Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe; and Newsome himself. The performances at the salon will feature local and international voguers excerpting and offering a preview of their nightly performances.

This event is part of Making Space at the Armory.

A Park Avenue Armory Commission



Assembly is supported in part by a generous grant from Ken Kuchin and Tyler Morgan. The program is also supported by Meta Open Arts.

Additional support for The King of Arms Art Ball provided by Diverse Humanity/ and Meta Open Arts.

Image: Rashaad Newsome: To Be Real at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, 2020. Photo: Charlie Villyard.

Return to Arts at the Armory Listing  

February 18, 2022–March 6, 2022

Buy Daytime & Workshop Tickets

Daytime Hours
Tuesdays–Saturdays: 12:00pm–7:00pm
Sundays: 12:00pm–6:00pm
Tuesdays–Sundays at 1:00pm, 3:00pm & 5:00pm

Tickets: $18 (plus fees); free for Armory members

Buy Performance Tickets

Evening Performances
Tuesdays–Saturdays at 9:00pm
Tickets: $40 (plus fees)

Wade Thompson Drill Hall

Performances are approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes with no intermission.

Health and Safety Protocols
Beginning January 29, 2022, the Armory will require proof of a booster shot for all those for whom the timing of earlier vaccinations makes them eligible for a booster. Those not yet eligible will be able to continue to enter provided they are two weeks past their second dose in a two-dose vaccine series or two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine.

In compliance with New York City’s Key to NYC, effective January 29, 2022,  all ticket holders above the age of 5 years old must be fully vaccinated. “Fully vaccinated” means that you received your final dose of an FDA or WHO-approved vaccine at least 14 days before your performance date. At check-in, ticket-holders will be required to show proof of full vaccination (the New York State Excelsior Pass or a hard copy or photo of your vaccination card) and a government-issued photo ID (for ticket holders 18 years of age or older).

In addition to the precautions taken above, all patrons and staff are required to wear N95, KN95 or KF94 masks while inside the Armory.

To view additional COVID-19 Policies, please visit our FAQs page.

Other Ways to Buy
Tickets can be purchased by phone by calling the Box Office at (212) 933-5812 Monday–Friday, 10:00 AM–6:00 PM.

Sign up for our email list to get notifications and reminders about purchasing tickets for this and other upcoming events.