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May 10, 2011

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The highly anticipated performance by multimedia artist Rashaad Newsome, set for Saturday midnight, May 7, 2011, was to involve the artist being knighted as "king of arms," a heraldry ritual that Newsome had traveled to London to study. The prospective art ceremony had packed the pews of Mott Street’s historic Saint Patrick’s Basilica as part of the New Museum’s weekend-long Festival of Ideas. [Image: Rashaad Newsome's coat of arms.]

But the performance was cut short after a series of technical malfunctions botched the artist’s carefully engineered presentation. The ceremony began with an accidental projection of a computer desktop instead of Newsome’s animations, and went downhill from there. The show's premature termination left the crowd disappointed and silent.

In an apologetic statement made by Marlborough Chelsea’s Max Levai, he explained that “what was seen at Nuit Blanche's Flash: Light was not an articulation of Rashaad Newsome's work, but instead a random mismatch of elements from an exciting performance.”

According to the artist, the performance involves a number of unique events that no one got to see, including a live orchestration of a musical collaboration between the church’s organist and opera singer Stefano Koroneos, four video animations, and a finale featuring the dancers from Vogue Evolution, who recently figured in the MTV television show “So You Think You Can Dance.”

In light of the SNAFU, Marlborough is scheduling a re-staging -- promised to go off without a hitch, this time around -- to take place in St. Patrick’s in the near future. Stay tuned.

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