Arthur Jafa

born Tupelo, MS 1960
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Photo Robert Hamacher. Image courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York / Rome
Also known as
  • Arthur Jaffa
  • Arthur Jafa Fielder
Tupelo, Mississippi, United States
  • American

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 Perez 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; Fundacao 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."



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Musical Thinking: New Video Art and Sonic Strategies
June 16, 2023January 29, 2024
Musical Thinking explores the powerful resonances between recent video art and popular music. The exhibition focuses on video art that employs the strategies of musical creation—scores, improvisation, and interpretation—as well as its styles, structures, and lyrics to speak to personal as well as shared aspects of American life.

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