Friday 11/12/21 6:30PM
New Museum Theater, Sky Room, and OnlineGet Directions

Visionaries: Jeremy O. Harris and Arthur Jafa in Conversation

Cover Image:

Image: (L) Jeremy O. Harris. Photo: Micaiah Carte. (R) Arthur Jafa. Courtesy the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels. Photo: Robert Hamacher

The New Museum is proud to present the 2021 Visionaries, playwright, actor, and philanthropist Jeremy O. Harris and video artist and cinematographer Arthur Jafa. This program will be the first ever public conversation featuring the two honorees. The Stuart Regen Visionaries Series is an annual, flagship program recognizing individuals who have made major contributions to art and culture and who are actively imagining a better future.

About the Speakers

Jeremy O. Harris (b. 1989, Martinsville, Virginia) is a playwright, actor, producer, and philanthropist who currently resides in New York City. Harris is the creator of the Broadway play Slave Play (2018), which was nominated for a record twelve Tony awards and won the 2018 Kennedy Center Rosa Parks Playwriting Award, the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, and The Lotos Foundation Prize in the Arts and Sciences. Harris co-wrote A24’s critically-acclaimed film Zola (2021) with director Janicza Bravo. He is currently adapting the sci-fi epic The New World (forthcoming) by Ales Kot for Warner Bros. Pictures. Harris also has an overall deal with HBO and is a co-producer on the television series Euphoria (2019). He is currently co-creating and co-showrunning an adaptation of Brit Bennett’s best-selling novel, The Vanishing Half, with Aziza Barnes at HBO. Also an actor, Harris recently appeared on HBO Max’s Gossip Girl (2021) reimagining and will next be seen in season two episodes of Netflix’s Emily In Paris (2021). Harris’s major philanthropic work began in 2020, when he pledged and redistributed significant portions of his earnings to The New York Theater Workshop, libraries across the United States, and microgrants to support emerging theatrical talent. His honors and awards include the Vineyard Theatre’s Paula Vogel Playwrighting Award; 2016 MacDowell Colony Fellowship; Orchard Project Greenhouse artist; resident playwright with Colt Coeur; and commissions from Lincoln Center Theater and The Public Theater. His full-length plays include: Daddy; Xander Xyst, Dragon: 1; and WATER SPORTS; or insignificant white boys. His work has been presented or developed by Pieter Performance Space, JACK, Ars Nova, The New Group, New York Theatre Workshop, and Performance Space New York. Harris holds a Master of Fine Arts in playwrighting from Yale School of Drama.

Arthur Jafa (b. 1960, Tupelo, Mississippi) is an artist, filmmaker, and cinematographer. Across three decades, Jafa has developed a dynamic practice comprising films, artefacts, and happenings that reference and question the universal and specific articulations of Black being. Jafa’s films have garnered acclaim at the Los Angeles, New York, and Black Star Film Festivals and his artwork is represented in museum collections worldwide including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Tate, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The High Museum Atlanta, The Dallas Museum of Art, The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, Stedelijk, Luma Foundation, The Perez Art Museum Miami, Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, among others. Jafa has recent and forthcoming solo exhibitions of his work at the Pérez Art Museum Miami; the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archives; Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; and the Louisiana Museum of Art, Denmark. In 2019, he received the Golden Lion for the Best Participant of the 58th Venice Biennale “May You Live in Interesting Times.”

Past Visionaries Honorees

Previous Visionaries honorees include author Claudia Rankine and theorist Judith Butler (2020); author Rachel Kushner (2018, in conversation with novelist Ben Lerner); explorer Erling Kagge (2017); essayist and critic Fran Lebowitz (2016, in conversation with filmmaker Martin Scorsese); critic and author Hilton Als (2015); director, screenwriter, and producer Darren Aronofsky (2014, in conversation with novelist and critic Lynne Tillman); writer, director, and producer Matthew Weiner (2013, in conversation with writer A.M. Homes); artist and architect Maya Lin (2012); chef, author, and activist Alice Waters (2011); founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales (2010); and choreographer Bill T. Jones (2009), whose talk inaugurated this signature program.


This program will be live captioned.

For the safety of all our guests, we cannot accommodate exceptions to the vaccination mandate. If you remain unvaccinated because of a disability or a religious belief, we invite you to view the conversation virtually with online streaming tickets.


The Visionaries Series at the New Museum honors special individuals who have made major contributions to art and culture, and are actively imagining a better future. The series is made possible by the Stuart Regen Visionaries Fund, established by a gift from Barbara Gladstone in honor of her son Stuart Regen.

Additional support for the Visionaries Series is provided by the Charlotte and Bill Ford Artist Talks Fund.

Lead support for New Museum Public Programs is provided by the Bowery Council.

New Museum Digital Initiatives are generously supported by Hermine and David B. Heller.

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