Dallas Museum of Art – “Arthur Jafa: Love is the Message, The Message is Death”

In the summer of 2020, amid Black Lives Matter protests, twenty-eight museums and institutions around the world joined forces to stream Arthur Jafa’s video Love is the Message, The Message is Death (2017) online for two days free of charge, thereby also taking a stand on the murder of Georg Floyd. Among them was one of Deutsche Bank’s ArtCard partner museums, the Dallas Museum of Art, which has this video in its collection. Now it is presenting the work of the U.S. artist, who was awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale in 2019, as an installation.

Jafa himself prefers to show this work in a black tent. This structure, the opposite of the White Cube, is based on the so-called “revival tents” from the Southern states, where traditionally Christians came together for worship services, healing ceremonies, and sermons. Indeed, the work also has a spiritual dimension and deals with death, suffering, and transcendence. Love is the Message, The Message is Death, collaged from material found on the Internet and self-made, describes the “black experience” in America. Protagonists of the black civil rights movement appear as well as black pop stars and scenes of brutal police violence. The rhythmically edited shots are underlain by Kanye West's gospel track Ultralight Beam, which lends the work a hypnotic, almost cathartic quality.

Arthur Jafa:
Love is the Message, The Message is Death

until March 7, 2021
Dallas Museum of Art