American, b. Tupelo, Mississippi, 1960
Love Is The Message, The Message Is Death
Video; color and black and white; sound; 7:30 min.
Joint museum purchase with the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. Funding provided by Joseph H. Hirshhorn Bequest Fund; additional Gift of Funds from Nion T. McEvoy, Chair of SAAM Commission (2016–2018) and from gifts made in his honor by his fellow Commissioners, 2020
© Arthur Jafa, 2016
Courtesy the Artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York/Rome
Arthur Jafa (b. 1960, Tupelo, Mississippi) is an artist, filmmaker and cinematographer. Across three decades, Jafa has developed a dynamic practice comprising films, artefacts and happenings that reference and question the universal and specific articulations of Black being.
Underscoring the many facets of Jafa’s practice is a recurring question: how can visual media, such as objects, static and moving images, transmit the equivalent “power, beauty and alienation” embedded within forms of Black music in U.S. culture?Jafa’s films have garnered acclaim at the Los Angeles, New York and Black Star Film Festivals and his artwork is represented in celebrated collections worldwide including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, Tate, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Luma Foundation, the Pérez Art Museum Miami, The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among many others.
Jafa has recent and forthcoming exhibitions of his work at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archives; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Fundação de Serralves, Porto; the 22nd Biennale of Sydney; and the Louisiana Museum of Art, Denmark. In 2019, he received the Golden Lion for the Best Participant of the 58th Venice Biennale “May You Live in Interesting Times.”
Two roundtable panel discussions convened by the artist will take place Saturday, June 27, at 2 p.m. ET and Sunday, June 28, at 2 p.m. ET on sunhaus.us.
Participants in Saturday’s panel may include Peter L’Official, assistant professor of literature at Bard College; Josh Begley, artist; Elleza Kelley, writer and doctoral candidate at Columbia University; and Thomas Lax, curator of media and performance at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Participants Sunday may include Aria Dean, artist and assistant curator of net art and digital culture at Rhizome; Rashaad Newsome, artist; Isis Pickens, First Lady of Los Angeles’ Zion Hill Baptist Church; and Simone White, poet and assistant professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. Both panels are moderated by Tina Campt, the Owen F. Walker Professor of Humanities and Modern Culture and Media at Brown University.Engage in conversation using the hashtag #DeathIsLoveIs with @hirshhorn and art institutions participating in the stream: @americanart @dallasmuseumart @glenstonemuseum @highmuseumofart @moca @studiomuseum @JuliaStoschekCollection @luma_arles @lumawestbau @pinaultcollection @palazzo_grassi @StedelijkMuseum @tate