The White Album (video still)

Arthur Jafa, The White Album (video still), 2018 © Arthur Jafa. Courtesy the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York/Rome

24.6 2020

Arthur Jafa’s “The White Album” donated to the collection

Moderna Museet has acquired ”The White Album” by Arthur Jafa, through a donation from The American Friends of Moderna Museet. This 40-minute video work was awarded the Golden Lion at the 2019 Venice Biennale. It will be installed and shown at Moderna Museet towards the end of the year.

In ”The White Album”, the US artist Arthur Jafa examines white violence against black citizens. Jafa juxtaposes brutally violent footage and shocking statements with other images demonstrating his love and respect for people in his life who happen to be white. In his expansive video portraits, he evokes a dual sense of intimacy and rejection. He asks the fundamental questions of what it actually means to be white – and black.

“’The White Album’ is an extremely important work that visualises the disturbing and invasive racism that is currently being debated globally. Arthur Jafa takes footage from real life and inserts it in an artistic framework that speaks directly to the body and the senses. His practice insists on giving black America a face and a voice. ‘The White Album’ is horrifyingly urgent, and we are very grateful for this donation from The American Friends of Moderna Museet,” says Gitte Ørskou, director of Moderna Museet.

In summer 2019, Moderna Museet showed the exhibition ”Arthur Jafa: A Series of Utterly Improbable Yet Extraordinary Renditions (featuring Ming Smith, Frida Orupabo and Missylanyus)”. In May 2019, Arthur Jafa was awarded the Golden Lion in Venice for ”The White Album”, a video work that the Biennale jury described as “in equal measure … an essay, a poem and portraiture”.

Thanks to a donation from The American Friends of Moderna Museet, an edition of ”The White Album” (2018) has now been added to the Museum’s collection.

Published 24 June 2020 · Updated 24 June 2020