News — Jun 24, 2020

From Friday 26 to Sunday 28 June (8-8pm CET), Arthur Jafa will stream his film Love is the message, The Message is Death on the website of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and 12 other partners.

Jafa is an artist, director and award-winning filmmaker. His work tackles and challenges representations of black culture. By streaming the film for 48 hours, Jafa strives to give as many people as possible a chance to see his film, invite them to talk about it, and place it within the current conversations surrounding race and social change. 

Love is the Message, The Message is Death (2016) is a masterful 7-minute video of found and self-shot footage that traces African-American identity through a vast spectrum of contemporary imagery. From photographs of civil rights leaders watermarked with “Getty Images” to helicopter views of the LA Riots to a wave of bodies dancing to “The Dougie”. While Love Is the Message, The Message Is Death poignantly embodies the artist’s desire to create a cinema that “replicates the power, beauty and alienation of Black Music,” it is also a reminder that the collective multitude defining Blackness is comprised of singular individuals, manifold identities and their unaccountable differences.

Photo Credit: Robert Hamacher. Courtesy the artist and Gavin Brown's enterprise, New York/Rome

I am thrilled for the opportunity, finally, to have as many people as possible see Love is the Message, The Message is Death.

— Arthur Jafa


From Friday 26 June at 8 p.m. CEST until Sunday 28 June at 8 p.m. CEST Love is the Message, The Message is Death will be streamed on the website of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; Dallas Museum of Art; Glenstone Museum; High Museum of Art in Atlanta; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; The Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles; The Studio Museum in Harlem; Julia Stoschek Collection Berlin; Luma Arles; Luma Westbau; Palazzo Grassi – Punta della Dogana – Pinault Collection; Smithsonian American Art Museum; and the Tate.

These museums have included the work in their collections and, in light of recent anti-racist demonstrations, are uniting to make sure that the film can be seen by as many people as possible. The streaming affirms the Stedelijk’s statement released to stand against institutional racism and pursue a more vigorous policy to empower the role of artists and curators of color in the museum.

The work of Arthur Jafa holds an unequalled place in the Stedelijk collection. Jafa’s unique multidisciplinary practice portrays the reality of our society through compelling images mirroring that same society. The Stedelijk is committed to fighting against racism and has resolved to significantly increase the number of artists of color in our collection and programming.

— Rein Wolfs, director of Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam


Additionally, two roundtable panel discussions convened by the artist will take place Saturday June 27 at 8 p.m. CEST and Sunday June 28 at 8 p.m. CEST on


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.

Note for editors:

For more information and press images you are welcome to contact the Press Office of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, +31 20 573 26 60 / 56 or