Led by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the High Museum joined thirteen other US and international museums that own an edition of Arthur Jafa’s artwork Love is the Message, The Message is Death in a forty-eight-hour live stream of the seven-and-a-half-minute video. The High streamed the video artwork live on the home page of High.org from June 26 through June 28.
We are offering two programs that allow you to join us in conversation around Arthur Jafa’s powerful work of art produced in 2016, Love is The Message, The Message is Death. Please join us in conversation.
#AMA with the High Museum of Art
Monday, June 29
Join the High Museum on Instagram Stories @highmuseumofart for an #AMA (Ask Me Anything) in response to Arthur Jafa’s Love is the Message, the Message is Death. The interactive Q&A will be hosted by Michael Rooks, Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art; Kayla Gaskin, 2018–2020 Mellon Foundation Curatorial Fellow, and Imani Andwele, TeenTeam Alumna.
Conversation Pieces—Love is The Message, The Message is Death
Thursday, July 2, 12 noon–1 p.m.
Join High Museum staff for a special one-hour edition of Conversation Pieces as they take a closer look at Love is The Message, The Message is Death by Arthur Jafa. Discussants include Kayla Gaskin, 2018–2020 Mellon Foundation Curatorial Fellow; Kristen Clayton, Coordinator of Youth and Community Engagement; Faron Manuel, Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Fellowship Program Coordinator; and TeenTeam alumni, Imani Andwele, Dalen Weathersby, and Adela Lopez. The conversation will be moderated by Michael Rooks, the Wieland Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. Preregistration is required as space is limited. Register Here
LOVE IS THE MESSAGE, THE MESSAGE IS DEATH
American, born 1960
Love Is The Message, The Message Is Death, 2016
Single-channel video, variable dimensions,
7 1/2 minutes (55-second excerpt)
Gift of the Alex Katz Foundation
The current groundswell of support for Black Lives Matter, combined with a renewed push to address widespread societal oppression, presents a distinct opportunity for dialogue, deep introspection, and unity around meaningful change.
This fight to eliminate racism must not be fleeting. Consequently, as part of the High’s ongoing commitment to add emphasis to this discourse, we were proud to participate in this forty-eight-hour simulcast of Arthur Jafa’s Love is the Message, The Message is Death.
This extraordinary work provides a unique lens, at once enabling and challenging us to confront the reality of the Black experience in America, through imagery that is maddening, humorous, tragic, joyous, hurtful, and inspiring.
As we partner with our colleague institutions across the nation and across the globe, we hope that Mr. Jafa’s art will stir us to reflect on the work that lies ahead while encouraging each of us to be our own beacon for change.
In Arthur Jafa’s powerful work of art produced in 2016, Love is The Message, The Message is Death, the artist combines original footage with clips from documentary film, news media, social media, and Hollywood to illustrate a century of tumultuous Black experience in the United States, from Jim Crow to Ferguson. This montage alternates between scenes of triumph and jubilation and those of conflict, violence, and upheaval. The music is Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam,” sung by Chicago-born artist Chance the Rapper and serves as both a lament and a meditation on spiritual and social awakening. Jafa immerses the audience in the sorrows, joys, injustices, and triumphs of Black America.
The global consortium of participating museums includes the Dallas Museum of Art; Glenstone Museum; High Museum of Art in Atlanta; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Studio Museum in Harlem; Julia Stoschek Collection Berlin; Luma Arles and Luma Westbau; Pinault Collection in Paris and Palazzo Grassi in Venice; Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC; Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam; and the Tate in London.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Arthur Jafa (born 1960, Tupelo, Mississippi) is an artist, filmmaker, and cinematographer. Across three decades, Jafa has developed a dynamic practice comprising films, artifacts, 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 and static and moving images, transmit the equivalent “power, beauty, and alienation” embedded within forms of Black music in US 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, Museum of Modern Art, Tate, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Dallas Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, LUMA Foundation, Perez Art Museum Miami, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and 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.”