Power 100

Most influential people in 2020 in the contemporary artworld


Arthur Jafa

Artist - American artist and filmmaker shaping the trajectory of Black art

6 in 2020

  • 20206
  • 201934
  • 201887
  • 201781
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • 2006
  • 2005
  • 2004
  • 2003
Arthur Jafa. Courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York & Brussels

As America, and the world, convulsed in anger at the killing of George Floyd by police, Arthur Jafa’s videowork Love is the Message, The Message is Death, which propelled the artist to wider prominence in 2016, and which documents the trauma and triumphs of Black culture, resonated. Hence the decision by 14 museums internationally, including the Smithsonian and Hirshhorn in Washington, DC, the Tate Modern in London and the Stedelijk in Amsterdam, to simultaneously stream it for one weekend in June on their websites. That work used Kanye West’s Ultralight Beam (2016) as its soundtrack, and the artist and the musician collaborated again this year, with Jafa making the video for Kanye’s new track Wash Us in the Blood (he has previously made videos for Solange and Jay-Z, among others). Jafa was in demand IRL too, with solo shows at the Fundação de Serralves in Porto and, this month, at Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.

The ArtReview Power 100 is presented by BMW Group Culture

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