The presentation celebrates major new acquisitions to SAAM’s media art collection. It pairs recently added video works by ADÁL, Raven Chacon, Mariam Ghani, Martine Gutierrez, Arthur Jafa, Erin Ellen Kelly, Christine Sun Kim, Liz Magic Laser, Simone Leigh, and Cauleen Smith with related photographs, sculptures, prints and immersive installations by the same creators. The featured artists draw on the vast cultural influence of American music. Whether turning to early spirituals, jazz and mid-century musicals, or movie soundtracks and hip-hop, each artist deeply considers the traditions, methods, and purpose of music in daily life. Connecting innovative forms, past and present, to the American experience, they emphasize that our national story has always been complex, multivocal, and set to music.
The exhibition is organized by Saisha Grayson, curator of time-based media at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, with support from Anne Hyland, curatorial assistant.
Musical Thinking: New Video Art and Sonic Strategies is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Generous support has been provided by Michael Abrams and Sandra Stewart, Aida Alvarez, Candy and Michael Barasch, Carolyn and Mo Cunniffe, Roger S. Firestone Foundation, Ed and Kathy Fries, Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, Pamela and David Hornik, Maureen and Gene Kim, Nion McEvoy Publications Endowment, Victoria McManus, V. Joy Simmons, MD, Smithsonian Accessibility Innovation Fund, Lucille and Richard Spagnuolo, Helen and Peter Warwick,and the SJ Weiler Fund.
This exhibition received federal support from the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative Pool, administered by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Museum, and the Asian Pacific American Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.
Arthur Jafa (b. 1960, Tupelo, Mississippi) is an artist, filmmaker and cinematographer.