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Arthur Jafa: Life as a Cactus vs. Now, Entering the Infrastructure

Arthur Jafa, Image credit: Robert Hamacher.
About

Arthur Jafa discusses the relationship between artists and the larger art infrastructure, drawing on his experiences as an artist and filmmaker navigating art institutions such as museums and galleries, while also working within and around the commercial film industry.

Arthur Jafa (b. 1960, Tupelo, Mississippi) is an artist, filmmaker and cinematographer. Across three decades, Jafa has developed a dynamic practice comprising films, artifacts 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 US 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, The Tate, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The High Museum Atlanta, The Dallas Museum of Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Stedelijk, Luma Foundation, The Perez Art Museum Miami, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among others.

This event was held on March 16, 2022.

Support

ICA gratefully acknowledges support from the Katherine (CW’69) and Keith L. Sachs (W’67) Guest Curator Program. RAW Académie at ICA: Infrastructure, directed by Linda Goode Bryant is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Toby Devan Lewis. Programming support is provided by the Sachs Contemporary Art Fund and the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation. Additional support has been provided by Linda & Jeffrey Chodorow, Stacey & Benjamin Frost, Marjorie & Michael Levine, Toby Devan Lewis, Christina Weiss Lurie, B.Z. and Michael Schwartz, Lori & John Reinsberg, Dorothy & Stephen Weber, and Susan J. Weiler.