Zora J Murff is an American artist and member of the Strange Fire Collective
Ep. 117: Zora J Murff and I caught up about his work this past week. We spoke about loads of different things, but certainly focussed on Zora’s charged and beautiful books and projects.
This was the first conversation that I have had in 2020 with an African American artist regarding George Floyd, race, politics and the contemporary moment. I had made the decision in June to try not to wade in with all of my colleagues and begin what I refer to as hunting black artists to prop up my own agenda. I felt there was a need to give platforms over, but was and remain highly critical of the way in which privileged white cultural arbiters are wading in and grabbing the mic whilst pretending the pledge fealty to the moment and movement.
This may sound somehow harsh or difficult, but I have seen an incredible amount of insincere pining that I believe does more damage to the moment by co-opting the discussion for personal gain and flag waving. We discuss this in the episode. We discuss the moment, the arts and the institutions, particularly the Whitney and also what it is like for a black artist to exist in the moment. Zora’s brilliant, honest and polite conversation was needed and illuminating. These very humane traits shined as a beacon of light in the very dark conversation we had about his work and our reflection of the moment.
We spent some time on At No Point In Between in particular, which Zora explained in detail and and with poise. I was struck by the term slow violence and Zora’s nuanced examination about how we think about the photographic image and how different formats from dash cam, to newspaper usage changes and enlists various points of reading the hierarchy of institutional power through the distribution of these images. I implore those of you interested in the moment and its implications to tune into this. Its sober, interesting and important dialogue and dialogue is the future. Thank You, Zora!!