Hito Steyerl, HOW NOT TO BE SEEN: A F**king Didactic Educational .MOV File, 2013. HD video, single screen in architectural environment. Running time: 15 minutes, 52 seconds. Image CC 4.0 Hito Steyerl. Courtesy of Hito Steyerl and Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York. Joseph H. Hirshhorn Purchase Fund, 2016

NOV 18, 2017-SEP 23, 2018

The Message: New Media Works was a transformative journey through five contemporary film and video installations that use music, film and pop culture to reveal profound truths about life in the 21st century.  It was also the first chance for DC audiences to discover leading international video artists Camille Henrot, C. T. Jasper, Joanna Malinowska, Frances Stark, Hito Steyerl, and Arthur Jafa, an award-winning cinematographer known for his collaborations Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Solange, and whose seminal Kanye West-backed Love is the Message, The Message is Death inspired the exhibition’s title.

Each video appropriates a common method of communication in today’s media-saturated world—the sermon, the web lecture, the concert, the music video, and the online sex chat room—and uses its familiar format to question and provoke ideas around information overload in the global digital age. Music and language are common threads weaving all five works together, as artists use them as tools to rewrite traditional narratives around theology, race, and sexuality.

According to curator Mark Beasley, “In an increasingly digital society, we keep seeing that language, humor and music triumph as timeless and universal. As you walk through The Message, the exhibition unfolds as a musical LP, with each work as an individual track on a record connected by similar themes.”

Curated by Mark Beasley, Robert and Arlene Kogod Secretarial Scholar, Curator of Media and Performance Art, with curatorial assistance from Betsy Johnson, Assistant Curator

In the News

Washington Post: Filmmaker Arthur Jafa makes his Hirshhorn debut with a stunning video installation