Slide background
La Gioconda in an extraordinary adaptation · Kazan, Russia · Photo by Gerhard Guffler
Slide background
Shared art - Elevator door in Hotel Lebua at the State Tower, Bangkok, Thailand.
Slide background
Experts. National Museum of China in Beijing. Photo by Gerhard Guffler
Slide background
The german Masterpainter Philipp Weber in New York City
Slide background
Spectacular location: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid, Spain
Slide background
Preparing for the photoshooting - young model in Seoul, South Korea
Slide background
Art that lives. Spanish children in front of a work of the master Antonio Castello Avilleira. Photo by Martin Llamedo
Slide background
Ad Reinhardt: Blue Paintings - David Zwirner Gallery, New York City
Slide background
Art, well-dosed. Devotional items at the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
Slide background
Contemporary Art at the National Museum of China in Beijing
Slide background
Street Art. Bordeaux/France. New harbour area. Photo by Nyx
Slide background
Fantastic multi-media presentation by TeamLab (Japan) at Pace Gallery in Beijing · Photo by Erik Olsson
Slide background
The triple Helnwein. Discovered at Modernism, San Francisco · Photo by Jon Kim
Slide background
Hidden view to North Korea? Youngeun Museum - Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. Photo by Takashi Moto
Slide background
Exciting neighborhood: street art and commerce - discovered in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Slide background
Escape · Fondation Maeght · Photo by Takashi Moto
Slide background
Discovery in a gallery in Stockholm: The daughter of the famous ceramist Leo Grilli from Gubbio, Umbria.
Slide background
Impressive typography in Seoul-Jikhalsi, South Korea · Photo by Takashi Moto
Slide background
In search of identity. Detail of Alexander Timofeev "Beginning" · Oil on canvas, 100 x 100 cm, 2015.
Slide background
What does Marylin think? Impression from the Halcyon Gallery, London
Slide background
A wedge? Outstanding architecture! The new area in the Hermitage. Photo by Takashi Moto.
Slide background
Grandiose swing: Church of St. Michael, Hamburg. Photo by Gerhard Guffler.
Slide background
Sculpture of sitting men, France. Photo by Anja Helmchen.
Slide background
Lively streets in New York City. Photo by Mick Rogers.
Slide background
Accord. Städel-Museum, Frankfurt/Germany · Photo by Takashi Moto
Slide background
The truck. Christmas. New York City. Photo by Vince Ryan
Slide background
Currently out of Malaga/Spain: masterful sensitive drawing of the artist Aurelio Rodriguez Lopez.
Slide background
West meets east. Shopping in Guangdong, South Korea. Photo by Kwon KyungYep
Slide background
A touristic reminiscent of a great artist. Discovered at Central Park in New York City. Photo by Danielle Lemond
Slide background
Re-use: Work aid for the German painter Philipp Weber. Photo: Johannes Mencke
image of the week

How Arthur Jafa Created a Contemporary Guernica

A still from the video, Love is the Message, the Message is Death

Last year, SAAM jointly acquired acclaimed filmmaker, artist, and cinematographer Arthur Jafa’s Love is the Message, The Message is Death with the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. I am thrilled that Jafa will be at SAAM this upcoming weekend to talk about his work in dialogue with the brilliant next-gen auteur Ja’Tovia Gary. As a prelude to this electrifying program, I want to share the importance of SAAM as a context for Jafa’s powerful work.

In 2016, when Jafa debuted Love is the Message, The Message is Death, it was instantly recognized as one of the most important artworks of the past decade (and more recently was named in the New York Times as one of 25 works that define the contemporary age). It offers a profoundly moving montage of original and found footage exploring the mix of joy and pain, transcendence and tragedy that constitutes the African American experience at this historical moment. Set to Kanye West’s gospel-inflected song “Ultralight Beam,” the piece swells with spiritually uplifting but candid lyrics; the music occasionally recedes allowing poignant snippets of dialogue to come to the fore. Writing in Artforum, critic Tobi Haslett noted, “Jafa’s juxtapositions rise above cleverness but shrink from sentimentalism, constructing a picture of Blackness that manages to fold a whole emotional galaxy—glory, disappointment, buffoonery, lust, poise—into seven minutes of mass-market pop.”

This tightly-controlled editing echoes the intricate rhythmic structures of jazz and hip-hop, exemplifying Jafa’s stated goal of creating a cinema that “replicates the power, beauty and alienation of Black Music.” Through his visual selection, Jafa perfectly captures the range of media sources and ideological mediation through which contemporary viewers experience and understand their world. Iconic images of civil rights leaders overlaid with gettyimages® raise questions of corporate co-option. Sensationalized news and sports coverage interrogates cultural constructions of Blackness. Camera-phone-recorded YouTube videos highlight how our most personal moments can now become shockingly public, whether through choice or necessity.

Given the significance of this piece, it seemed ideal for it to be in the collections of both the Hirshhorn, with its mission of presenting defining works of contemporary art, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, dedicated to showcasing the breadth and brilliance of American art as it illuminates the American experience.

For me, SAAM’s participation was important for another reason that I hinted at when I told Smithsonian magazine that Jafa’s video struck me as a “contemporary Guernica,” a reference echoed in a recent New York Times profile on the artist. The comparison is to a famous mural painted by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso in 1937, depicting the destruction wrought by the aerial bombing of civilians, mostly women and children, in the northern town of Guernica. The attack was carried out by Nazi warplanes at the invitation of Spain’s fascist military-coup leader General Francisco Franco, and was widely considered a terrorist escalation of the civil war already tearing the country apart. Picasso started the composition shortly after the attack, and the piece debuted just months later, at the Spanish Pavilion in the Paris International Expo, where its moral call to the world was unmistakable. It is often cited as one of the greatest anti-war artworks, an example of an artist using their creative, communicative power to move us beyond the desensitizing news cycles and towards feeling connected with those at the core of events.

There are many parallels that can be made between the process, intentions and impact of Guernica and Love is the Message, The Message is Death.  Both were made with a sense of urgency, in response to and in the midst of an ongoing crisis. Both use fragmentation and re-composition to get us to look anew at images circulating in mass media, images that hit differently when broken up and reordered, when blown-up to fill a wall and punctuated by moments of raw pain and aching beauty. And now there is also the fact they are both in the national collections of the countries whose actions are being interrogated.

In thinking of Jafa’s video being part of SAAM’s national collection, I think of what context we might give it, forty years into the future…will we be able to say things have changed for the better?

When arguing for why SAAM should partner with the Hirshhorn on this, I thought often of how it had felt to see Guernica at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid. Since 1939, per Picasso’s wishes, the painting had been entrusted to the Museum of Modern Art in New York and was not to be given to Spain until a republic with “public liberties and democratic institutions” was restored. After Franco’s death and a new constitution was ratified, the painting came to Spain for the first time in 1981, and was installed in the national museum in a purpose-built gallery in 1992. It now is shown surrounded by related works of art and architectural diagrams of its first presentation, but also documentary war photographs, contemporaneous journals and protest posters that powerfully attest to the decades of struggle and the multitude of voices that joined Guernica in decrying fascism and the brutalization of fellow citizens, and continued to demand better of the government and each other until Picasso’s terms for this painting’s “return” to Spain were met. Here it is not an abstract anti-war message, not just a modernist masterpiece, but a specific address to a specific community, a reminder of unresolved histories and a warning to consider what might come of future actions, of ongoing failures to see each other as equal and intimately connected.

In thinking of Jafa’s video being part of SAAM’s national collection, I think of what context we might give it, forty years into the future; will we be able to show it as one part of a struggle to shift the way we treat each other, the way the government treats its citizens, and will we be able to say things have changed for the better? I hope that as our Guernica, Love is the Message, The Message is Death is someday a cautionary reminder of where we’ve been as a country; an admonition that constitutional promises of public liberties and democratic institutions are not the same as having them, that these promises required centuries of struggle to become real and to not take them—should we ever attain them—for granted.

‘Clay Jug’

‘Clay Jug’ [2012] by Matt The Unfathomable Artist, Sketch on A4 card paper.

Photograph taken by bending the card into a three dimensional curved form to emulate the physical properties of the clay.

I prefer that those appreciating my artworks might fully understand my interest in clay works such as this jug pictured.  For clarification I’d like to share some of my reasons for loving clay works.

21er Haus · Abstract Expressionism · Advice · Aesthetics · Africa · African American · Ai Weiwei · Albrecht Dürer · Alcohol · Ali Cavanaugh · Amazon · Amsterdam · Andy Warhol · Animals · Animation · Antiquity · Apartheid · Archaeology · Architecture · Art History · Art installation · Art Market · Art nouveau · Art per se · Art Pharmacy · Art project · Art reception · Art Stage · Artemisia Gentileschi · Artist Project · Artist reunion · Artists about Art · Asad Raza · Asia · Astronomy · Atelier · Auction · Australia · Authenticity · Bach · Banksy · Barcelona · Baroque · Battle of the Sexes · Beauty · Belgium · Ben Enwonwu · Benin · Berlin · Bernini · Biennale · Bike · Bill Traylor · Biography · Biology · Border Film Project · Border-crossing · British Museum · Bronze · Budapest · Butterfly · Cameroon · Campbell’s Soup · Canada · Caravaggio · Cartoon · Cat · Charles Edward Perugini · Charles François Daubigny · Charts · Chicago · Children · China · Christian Art · Christianity · Cinema · City · Cityscape · Climate · Cloth · Clothes · Collection · Colours · Comic · Community · Construction · Consumption · Contemporary Art · Contemporary History · Count Ibex Collection · Countrysite · Cowboys · Craft · Crafting · Cuban Art · Cubism · Customize · Damien Hirst · Danny Lyon · Darkness · David Eichenberg · David Hockney · Death · Debate · Deception · Decoration · Design · Destination · Detroit · Diego Rivera · Digi-Arts · Dimension · Diorama · Discrimination · Discussion · DNA · Dog · Domestic space · Drawing · Earthquake · Edmund Charles Tarbell · Education · Edward Hopper · Edwynn Houk Gallery · Egypt · Electricity · Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun · Emotions · Erasure · Ernest Lawson · Ernest Mancoba · Erwin Blumenfeld · Ethic · Ethnology · Eugène Delacroix · Eva Lewarne · Events · Exhibition · Experiment · Fake · Family · Fashion · Featured Artist · Feminism · Figurative Art · Film · Fire · Food · Form · France · Frankfurt · Frederick Goodall · French art · Frida Kahlo · Friendship · Furniture · Futurism · Gallery · Games · Garden · Geometry · George Sand · Gerard David · Gerhard Richter · Germany · Getty · Ghana · Ghosts · Gifts · Giotto · Giovanni Bellini (Giambellino) · Glass · Goethe · Gold · Good Idea · Gothic · Goya · Graffiti · Halcyon Gallery · Handcraft · Hans von Aachen · Harlem · Health · History · Horoscope · Huang Binhong · Hungarian National Gallery · Hyperrealism · Ibrahim El Salahi · Identity · Illustration · Imagination · Impressionism · India · Individuum · Indonesia · Interieur · Internet · Interview · Iran · Israel · Italy · Ivory · Ivory Coast · Jan van Scorel · Japan · Jasper Johns · Jaume Huguet · Jean Paul Gaultier · Jean-François Baudet · Jeff Koons · Jerusalem · JMW Turner · Joachim Patinir · Johannes Vermeer · John Singer Sargent · Joseph Karl Stieler · Journey · Jules Breton · Kaari Upson · Karel Appel · Karl Lagerfeld · Katsushika Hokusai · Kerry James Marshall · Keto · Kurt Hüpfner · Landscape · Latin America · Leasure · Leonardo da Vinci · Lifestyle · Lili Ország · Lisbon · Literature · London · Lorena Kloosterboer · Lorenzo Lotto · Los Angeles · Louver Gallery · Louvre · Love · Luck · Macchiavelli · Madrid · Magic · Malangatana · Malick Sidibé · Map · Marble · Marcel Duchamp · Marco Grassi · Maria Lassnig · Martha Pulina · Mary Stevenson Cassatt · Masterpiece Project · Material Culture · Matisse · Matthew Cherry · Max Friedländer · MC Escher · MEAM · Mexican Art · Miami · Michelangelo · Middle Ages · Mies van der Rohe · Minimalism · Mining · Mitch Griffiths · Mixed Media · Mobility · Modern Art · Mona Lisa · Moon · Morto da Feltre · Mosaic · Mozambique · Mulan Gallery · Munich · Murillo · Muse · Museum · Music · Mythology · Nathan Zhou · Native Americans · Nature · Neoclassic · Netherlands · New York · Nigeria · Norway · Nudity · Object · Oil paintings · Old masters · Orientalism · Osman Hamdi Bey · Pablo Picasso · Palestine · Paper · Paris · Pattern · Peace of paper · Pen and Ink · Pencil · Perspective · Peter Lindbergh · Philadelphia · Philipp Weber · Philosophy · Photographs · Photography · Places · Poetry · Poland · Politics · Pop Art · Porcelain · Portrait · Poster · Pottery · Power · Prado Museum · Prague · Presents · Printing · Protest · Psychology · Rainforest · Ramon Pichot · Raphael · Reading · Realism · Recycling · Religion · Renaissance · René Jules Lalique · René Magritte · Restauration · Review · Rings · Robert Rauschenberg · Roccoco · Roger Kemp · Romanticism · Rome · Rosa JH Berland · Royal Academy of Arts · Ruins · Russia · Rybolovlev · SAAM · Saatchi Gallery · Salvador Dali · Sappho · School · Science · Science Fiction · Sculpture · Seattle · Self-expression · Selfie · Sensation · Seoul · Sexuality · Shadow · Shakespeare · Shana Levenson · Shanghai · Shchukin · Sheryl Luxenburg · Show · Shuang Li · Singapore · Sketch · Slavery · Social Media · Society · Sophie Matisse · Sound · South Africa · Space · Spirituality · Sport · Spray painting · Städel Museum · Star Wars · State Hermitage Museum · Statistic · Still Life · Street Art · Strings · Surrealism · Surveillance · Sweden · Symmetry · Tanzania · Tate Britain · Tattoo · Technology · Temple · Textiles · The Metropolitan Museum of Art · The National Gallery · Theatre · Time · Tina Turner · Tips · Titian · Tom Watt · Tommy Hartung · Toronto · Townscape · TRAC · Travel · Turkey · UK · Underground · United Kingdom · United States · Urban Art · Urbanism · Valentin de Boulogne · Venice · Venus · Veronese · Vienna · Vincent Van Gogh · Voodoo · War · Warsaw · Washington D.C. · Water · Watercolor · Whitney Museum · Wild West · Women · World Culture Forum · World Press Freedom Day · Yoan Capote · Zhou B Art Center

Unable to display Facebook posts.
Show error

Error: Error validating application. Application has been deleted.
Type: OAuthException
Code: 190
Please refer to our Error Message Reference.