Arthur Jafa's Urgent 'Love Is the Message' to Stream Free
26 June 2020
It's hard to imagine an artwork better suited to the United States' intensifying reckoning with racism.
Arthur Jafa, Love is the Message, The Message is Death (Film Still) (2016). Single-channel digital video. Courtesy the artist and Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York / Rome.
Arthur Jafa's video Love is the Message, The Message is Death (2016) will stream on repeat for 48 hours from June 26–28. Led by the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, 13 museums and private collections in seven countries will show the work, the first time it has been exhibited outside of art institutions and galleries.
'[It] is necessary to acknowledge the ongoing violence and racial inequality faced by Black Americans,' said Stephanie Stebich, director of the Smithsonian. 'Learning from Arthur Jafa's powerful artwork is one way to do so.'
The seven-and-a-half-minute piece is a collage of found and original footage that brings together scenes of racism and violence against African Americans alongside scenes of exceptional achievement and displays of religious ecstasy. The images are soundtracked with Kanye West's 'Ultralight Beam'.
'Together with SAAM, we commit to making one of the critical works of our time radically accessible while Smithsonian doors are closed,' said Hirshhorn Director Melissa Chiu.
'I am thrilled for the opportunity, finally, to have as many people as possible see Love is the Message, The Message is Death,' said Jafa.
The work will be available at Hirshhorn.si.edu and AmericanArt.si.edu from 2pm ET on Friday, 26 June. It will also be available on other participating museums and collections' websites, including: the Dallas Museum of Art; The Studio Museum, Harlem; the Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin; the Luma Arles, Arles; The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and the Tate, London. Each participating museum and collection holds an edition of the artwork.
Roundtable discussions convened by Jafa will also be available to online audiences at sunhaus.us this weekend. The first takes place Saturday, June 27, at 2pm ET and the second on Sunday, June 28, at 2pm ET. —[O]