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Arthur Jafa in Bloom - The New York Times
“Sought after by Spike Lee, Stanley Kubrick, and Solange Knowles alike, the visual artist is changing representations of blackness in museums and beyond.”

[embedded video: “My Favorite Artwork: Arthur Jafa”
https://www.nytimes.com/video/t-magazine/100000006654997/my-favorite-artwork-arthur-jafa.html

“And the Thomas Whitfield piece certainly exists as a high bar of how I’d like to think about my own work. I mean, I’m declaring it to be art, but I don’t actually think it cares whether it’s art or not. Increasingly, that’s how I want to make work. I want to make work that’s sort of, you know, it’s not even trying to operate inside of like, what anybody thinks of it, positively or negatively.”]
arthurjafa  2019  art  artists  profiles  video  blackness  artleisure  leisurearts  artmaking  audience  purpose  thomaswhitfield 
5 weeks ago by robertogreco
Arthur Jafa: Not All Good, Not All Bad on Vimeo
"We went to Los Angeles and visited the winner of the prestigious Venice Biennale's 2019 Golden Lion, American artist and filmmaker Arthur Jafa. In this extensive interview, he talks about black identity in connection with his critically acclaimed video ‘Love is the Message, The Message is Death’, which became a worldwide sensation.

“I’m trying to have enough distance from the thing, that I can actually see it clearly. But at the same time, be able to flip the switch and be inside of it.” Jafa describes how he has rewired himself to push towards things that disturb him. He grew up in the Mississippi Delta, one of the poorest regions in America, and admires the fearless and relentless pictures from that region by Danish photographer Jacob Holdt in ‘American Pictures’ (1977): “They exist outside of the formal parameters of art photography. I think they exist outside of journalism. They’re something else.”

Since childhood, Jafa has collected images in books, as if he was window-shopping, “compiling things that you don’t have access to.” The act of compiling and putting things together helps him figure out “what it is you’re actually attracted to.” When he “strung together” ‘Love is the Message, The Message is Death’, it was engendered by the explosion of citizen cellphone-documentation – the point in time where people discovered the power of being able to document. Jafa comments that his “preoccupation with blackness is fundamental philosophical” rather than political, and considers ‘whiteness’ a “pathological construction that’s come about as a result of a lot of complicated things.” In continuation of this, Jafa is against “highs and lows,” and some of the power of the work, he finds, is that it doesn’t make those distinctions. Instead of doing hierarchies, it accepts that opposites don’t have to negate each other, and tries to understand the diversity, differentiation and complexity in the world: “It’s not all good, it’s not all bad.”

Arthur Jafa (b. 1960) is an American Mississippi-born visual artist, film director, and cinematographer. His acclaimed video ‘Love Is the Message, The Message Is Death’ (2016), shows a montage of historical and contemporary film footage to trace Black American experiences throughout history. Jafa has exhibited widely including at the Hirshhorn in Los Angeles, Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, Tate Liverpool in Liverpool and Serpentine Galleries in London. His work as a cinematographer with directors such as Spike Lee and Stanley Kubrick has been notable, and his work on ‘Daughters of the Dust’ (1991) won the ‘Best Cinematography’ Award at Sundance. In 2019, Jafa was awarded the Golden Lion for best artist at the Venice Biennale for his film ‘The White Album’. Jafa has also worked as a director of photography on several music videos, including for Solange Knowles and Jay-Z. Jafa co-founded TNEG with Malik Sayeed, a “motion picture studio whose goal is to create a black cinema as culturally, socially and economically central to the 21st century as was black music to the 20th century.” He lives and works in Los Angeles.

Arthur Jafa was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner at his studio in Los Angeles in November 2018. In the video, extracts are shown from ‘Love Is the Message, The Message Is Death’ (2016) by Arthur Jafa. The seven-minute video is set to Kanye West’s Ultralight Beam.

Camera: Rasmus Quistgaard
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Edited by: Roxanne Bagheshirin Lærkesen
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2019

Supported by Nordea fonden"
arthurjafa  art  film  filmmaking  identity  blackness  whiteness  photography  imagery  collection  images  books  compilation  compiling  access  collecting  collections  documentation  documentary  complexity  video  montage  marc-christophwagner  childhood  mississippi  bernieeames  distance  survival  experience  culture  mississippidelta  seeing  perspective  democracy  smarthphones  mobile  phones  cameras  jacobholdt  clarksdale  tupelo  patriarchy  race  racism  billcosby  duality  hitler  thisandthat  ambiguity  barackobama  keepingitreal  donaldtrump  diversity  hope  hierarchy  melancholy  differentiation  audience  audiencesofone  variety  canon 
11 weeks ago by robertogreco
bell hooks and Arthur Jafa Discuss Transgression in Public Spaces at The New School - YouTube
"An open conversation hosted by Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts (http://www.newschool.edu/lang) between bell hooks and Arthur Jafa.

bell hooks (née Gloria Watkins) is among the leading public intellectuals of her generation. Her writings cover a broad range of topics including gender, race, teaching, and contemporary culture. This fall marks the 20th Anniversary of the publication of Teaching to Transgress: Education as a Practice of Freedom, Dr. hooks’ seminal book on educational practices. This week long residency is an opportunity for The New School community to directly engage with Dr. hooks and her commitment to education and learning as a place “where paradise can be created”

For more information on the bell hooks residency | https://web.archive.org/web/20170701023758/http://www.newschool.edu/lang/bell-hooks-scholar-in-residence/ "
bellhooks  arthurjafa  blackness  publicspace  film  2014  decolonization  culture  history  depiction  gaze  imagery  instagram  tumblr 
11 weeks ago by robertogreco
How to make art that escapes the white gaze, according to The White Pube | Dazed
"In their latest Dazed column, your art agony aunts Gabrielle de la Puente and Zarina Muhammad grapple with a difficult question

20 February 2019
Text: Gabrielle de la Puente
Text: Zarina Muhammad

In their new Dazed Voices column, art writers and curators The White Pube answer your burning questions about the industry, in a way only they can.

Anonymous: I have a very personal question that may apply to other artists out there. As a British Indian, how do you stop your work looking so western? I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and looking at my work closely. It always ends up looking European, and I don't know how to get out of that loop so my work speaks a different cultural language, or is that not an issue I should be concerned with? I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

The White Pube: This feels like a timely question, between the Drama™ with Babbu the Painter’s latest IG posts, and this growing apathy/borderline anger towards Diaspora aesthetics - i feel like there is something brewing. So I am glad you asked!

I wana start by asking, like fr fr sincerely honestly, what does European art look like? that might sound facetious but i think it’s a necessary question to ask as a follow-up. In my mind, so much of what is so deeply coded as Western/ European art was robbed! Picasso robbed from ~African Art (a robbery so vague & essentialist that it rly can’t get any more specific in terminology than that), all of them really – Matisse, Braque, even Warhol. the pioneers of early abstraction were plundering the cultural depths of the-entire-continent-of-africa, and tbh wasn’t the exaggerated colour and transcendence of perspective in Fauvism something that artists across Asia had been doing for qWhite a while? Wasn’t Surrealism a poor substitute for Magical Realism (a Latin American movement)? (no one @ me about this, these r all my art history hot-takes & i refuse 2 google 2 confirm). I j wana take some time to poke a hole in that and for you do to the same bc i don’t think it’s honest to declare that an image looking Very Western is something that actually exists. imo, sounds like yet more gatekeeping from an academy w skin in the game.

https://twitter.com/thewhitepube/status/1096179719442190337
"really stressed out about the number of white people making art about being white"

I think i know what you’re getting at though, and in my mind it’s not that you have something in mind so visibly Western, it’s that you want your work to look visibly Not-Western. And that’s where my bum starts to clench, and my palms sweat. Bc that feels like a rly difficult kind of Orientalism; representing the East through the lens of the West, or negatively defining the East by what the West is not. what kind of twisted inverted thing has happened there! how has the Coloniser got us so fucked up that we are unable to directly grasp the hands of our own aesthetic without reenacting the violence of our oppression also ??

And i think that, right there, that’s the difficulty of being an artist of colour trying to make art alongside the heavy weight of your own body & history. You lean in too far and u slip into essentialism; diaspora Art is damaging! a type of violence (as Babbu has proven) in and of itself. but you lean out, and you’ve been whitewashed. but I call BOLLOCKS, hit the bullshit button. i am sick and tired of this balancing act where quite frankly the goalposts for this spinchter of ‘acceptable aesthetic balance’ change every damn year. And I can tell you that WE are not the people defining this acceptability! it’s the MARKET! this aesthetic balance is defined by what SELLS. when i think of artists a few decades older than me, like Anish Kapoor or Mona Hatoum, who were knocking around in the 90s & 00s... like they weren’t making art about brown-ness at allllll. it was kinda passé, trite, a bit cooler to j Make like normal artists (normal being assimilated). Nothing wrong with it, it’s what sold at the time, and even if you weren’t selling, the stuff that does sell comes to define ~good taste~ anyway. Before that, round the 70s & 80s we had Rasheed Araeen, Chila Burman, artists who defined themselves as part of the Black Arts movement. They made art fiercely about identity and aesthetically reflected that.

“there are so many artists out there rn that are finding an aesthetic balance, defining and mediating a relationship between their bodies, their histories and the skins within their work. n managing to do so on their own terms” – The White Pube

Now things feel more slickly capitalistic... Babbu, Hatecopy, whose work really is tied again to selling; all the artists i wrote about in my text about the Problem with Diaspora Art... it makes me wonder, why is the sphincter of acceptability passing back towards reclamation? is it really about embracing our bindiwearing-foreheads, or is it about selling something ~exotic & ~cool to a white audience (whether they’re buying into it or not)? the market is deciding yet again. i want out of that back & forth, and tbh from your wording (from you saying you want ur work to speak a different cultural language) it sounds like you do too. i think the way to do that is not fucking concern urself with whether the work looks too Western/European. bc by doing so, all you do is create an image of what the Occident wants the Orient to be, rather than an image of what we really are in reality. take bits, make something of substance, with meaning, that you can really say with your chest. sth that comes from the very internal depths of your body. Don’t reduce ur art to the nearest binary or representational object, get rid of the representational object all together! don’t look to convey meaning through objects, look to convey through another vehicle altogether. Look to some artists that do that really well already: Imran Perretta, Rehana Zaman, Michelle Williams Gamaker, Alia Pathan, Hardeep Pandhal... n not just South Asian artists! look to the Black diaspora too: Evan Ifekoya, Arthur Jafa, tbh Grace Wales Bonner’s show at Serpentine atm, Paul Maheke, fuckin loads omg too many to name!

there are so many artists out there rn that are finding an aesthetic balance, defining and mediating a relationship between their bodies, their histories and the skins within their work. n managing to do so on their own terms. I beg u look to them. it’s a subtle balance & you must tread it yourself and figure out where the limit lies for you. Only when you put on those blinkers and dig from within will you be able to make something (aesthetically) that references what you want it to, without pandering to the white gaze. Good luck, I wish you well. <3"
gabrielledelapuente  zarinamuhammd  thewhitepube  art  whitegaze  thewest  picasso  appropriation  europe  eurocentricity  matisse  braque  andywarhol  urrelism  whiteness  orientalism  imranperretta  rehanazaman  michellewilliamsgamaker  aliapathan  hardeeppandhal  evanifekoya  arthurjafa  gracewalesbonner  paulmaheke  rasheedaraeen  chilaburman  babbuthepainter  2019 
april 2019 by robertogreco
Nothing Stable under Heaven · SFMOMA
[This was great.]

[So was "Sublime Seas
John Akomfrah and J.M.W. Turner"
https://www.sfmoma.org/exhibition/john-akomfrah/

"Nothing Stable under Heaven reflects on the contested past, the turbulent present, and the unpredictable future, examining how individual and collective voices can be heard in an uncertain world. The title is taken from an essay by James Baldwin, in which he claims the role of the artist in society is to reveal its inherent instability. Featuring contemporary work from the museum’s collection by artists such as Andrea Bowers, Hans Haacke, Emily Jacir, Arthur Jafa, and Glenn Ligon, this exhibition explores the ways that these artists inform our understanding of urgent social, ecological, and civic issues—including security and surveillance, evolving modes of communication, and political resistance."
classideas  sfmoma  art  2018  jamesbaldwin  kevinbeasley  anteliu  dawoudbey  kerryjamesmarshall  andreabowers  mikemills  tiffanychung  richardmisrach  tonyfeher  simonnorfolk  amyfranceschini  lisaoppenheim  felixgonzalez-torres  jorgeotero-pailos  hanshaacke  trevorpaglen  lesliehewitt  maurorestiffe  jessicajacksonhutchins  judithjoyross  emilyjacir  michalrovner  arthurjafa  allansekula  rinkokawauchi  tarynsimon  an-mylê  penelopeumbrico  glennligon  tobiaswong  society  ecology  environment  security  surveillance  communication  politic  resistance  uncertainty  instability  exhibitions  exhibits  johnakomfrah  jmwturner 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Love is the Message: An Evening with Arthur Jafa - YouTube
"Artist, director, and award-wining cinematographer Arthur Jafa has spent three decades creating dynamic, multidisciplinary work that challenges cultural identity and race politics with the power of music and film.

On the eve of the opening of “The Message: New Media Works,” and for the first time in a public forum, Jafa was joined by renowned jazz musician Steve Coleman to discuss the intersections of their practices over the last 30 years. Coleman is among a selection of musicians participating in Listening Session, an experimental performance series presented in conjunction with Jafa’s Serpentine Gallery exhibition, “A Series of Utterly Improbable, Yet Extraordinary Renditions.”

Jafa’s seminal video work “Love is the Message, The Message is Death,” is on view in “The Message,” Nov. 18, 2017- April 22, 2018.

Surprise performance by Kokayi"
arthurjafa  art  film  cinematography  2018  race  music  filmmaking  stevecoleman  jazz  wildworldofsports  wildkingdom  mutualofomaha'swildkingdom  memory  memories  practice  work  labor 
april 2018 by robertogreco

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