Newkirk's work engages both the personal and political realities of being and resonates with underlying social implications that speak to issues of self, memory, identity, and place.
Newkirk's solo exhibitions include The MCA San Diego, MCA Cleveland, The Studio Museum in Harlem, the Art Gallery of Ontario, LAXART, The Fabric Museum and Workshop, Locust Projects and Deep River. Group exhibitions include The Whitney Biennial, The Dakar Biennial, The Serpentine, The MCA Chicago, The Hammer Museum, and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. He has been awarded grants and fellowships by FOCA, Art Matters, The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation, The California Community Foundation, The William H. Johnson Foundation and The Joan Mitchell Foundation.
Prior to coming to USC, Newkirk held a dual appointment at Otis College of Art and Design and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.