Zora J Murff. Cross from At No Point in Between. 2018. Pigmented inkjet print, 24 × 30" (61 x 76.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired with support from Christine A Symchych and James P McNulty

Zora J Murff

Weaving together portraits and landscapes, alongside found images, the artist’s series At No Point in Between presents a community that has been shaped by racist policies and a legacy of injustice.
Lucy Gallun Oct 19, 2020

As part of MoMA’s online exhibition Companion Pieces: New Photography 2020, we’re introducing the work of one participating artist per week, from September 28 through November 16. This week focuses on the work of Zora J Murff. The audio recordings below are excerpted from Zoom conversations between curator Lucy Gallun and the artists.

Zora J Murff (American, born 1987) is a photographer and educator who lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He is also co-curator of Strange Fire Collective, a group of interdisciplinary artists, writers, and curators working to construct and promote an archive of artwork created by diverse makers. Murff’s body of work At No Point in Between takes as its subject the historically Black neighborhood of North Omaha, Nebraska. It includes poignant portraits of its citizens as well as landscape images—layered plywood, lush vines covering buildings—depicting a cityscape that has been shaped by racist policies and a legacy of injustice. Inserted into the series are examples from Murff’s collection of found images and objects, A Lineage—a framework of ancestors and structures that have shaped life in North Omaha. Murff locates his investigation of this particular place within a larger American narrative of violence. This violence is complex: it includes historical acts of violence such as the lynching of Will Brown (1919) and the police killing of Vivian Strong (1969); more recent videos of police violence that circulate widely on social media; and the systemic violence of redlining and other governmental policies that have resulted in economic oppression. By “creating a collection of images scrutinized in both their historical and contemporary contexts,” Murff explains, “I metaphorically connect the body and the landscape, fast and slow violence.”

From left: Zora J Murff. A Point (1) from At No Point in Between. 2018; A Point (2) from At No Point in Between. 2018

From left: Zora J Murff. A Point (1) from At No Point in Between. 2018; A Point (2) from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Thalia (talking about Us) from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Thalia (talking about Us) from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Cross from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Cross from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Implement from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Implement from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Gregory (talking about history) from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Gregory (talking about history) from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Survey from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Survey from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Terri (talking about the freeway) from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Terri (talking about the freeway) from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Construct from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Construct from At No Point in Between. 2018

From left: Zora J Murff. Buried from At No Point in Between. 2018; Zora J Murff. Cleared from At No Point in Between. 2018

From left: Zora J Murff. Buried from At No Point in Between. 2018; Zora J Murff. Cleared from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Chris (talking about fear) from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Chris (talking about fear) from At No Point in Between. 2018

From left: Zora J Murff. Burned from At No Point in Between. 2018; Zora J Murff. All our eclipses bright (Vivian Strong) from At No Point in Between. 2018

From left: Zora J Murff. Burned from At No Point in Between. 2018; Zora J Murff. All our eclipses bright (Vivian Strong) from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. A Graduation from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. A Graduation from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. A Funeral from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. A Funeral from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Beating the Path to Freedom from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Beating the Path to Freedom from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Rondell (talking about love) from At No Point in Between. 2018

Zora J Murff. Rondell (talking about love) from At No Point in Between. 2018

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