The montage of archival images and video set to Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam”, which picks apart Black representation in the media, originally debuted at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in late 2016, in the wake of Donald Trump’s election.
Now – when the film’s images of civil rights marches, police brutality, and commemorations for victims of racial violence feel especially poignant – 15 museums that own editions of the video will make it freely available online for two days, in an effort led by Hirshhorn Museum and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the Tate, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Stedelijk Museum are among the other institutions participating in the project.
Arthur Jafa – who has also, in the past, worked with Beyoncé (“Formation”), Jay-Z (“4:44”), and Solange (“Cranes in the Sky”) – will additionally take part in roundtable discussions related to Love Is The Messagevia sunhaus.us June 27 and 28.
In 2018’s Air Above Mountains, Unknown Pleasures, the artist also worked with video, alongside sculpture and photography, to harness “shock, horror, trauma, transcendence, and transgressive impulses in history”, including both Black and trans bodies. Revisit the show here, and in the gallery below.