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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Joan Jonas
Joan Amerman Edwards

(1936-07-13) July 13, 1936 (age 83)
Known forVideo art, performance art, sculpture
MovementPerformance art
AwardsFoundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award, 1995

Joan Jonas (born July 13, 1936) is an American visual artist and a pioneer of video and performance art, who is one of the most important female artists to emerge in the late 1960s and early 1970s.[1] Jonas' projects and experiments provided the foundation on which much video performance art would be based. Her influences also extended to conceptual art, theatre, performance art and other visual media. She lives and works in New York and Nova Scotia, Canada.[2]

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  • ✪ Joan Jonas – ‘I'm Curious About Life’ | TateShots
  • ✪ Joan Jonas - Volcanic Saga - 1989
  • ✪ Joan Jonas. U.S. Pavilion at Venice Art Biennale 2015
  • ✪ ART NOIR: A Conversation Between Jason Moran and Joan Jonas
  • ✪ Joan Jonas at the Venice Biennale 2009 | TateShots


I'm John Jonas a visual artist and this is my studio Right now it's quite cluttered and because of my show at the Tate I'm trying to put things in order now so I usually work on these tables. These objects are all going to goto the Tate to be shown. I collect things so I'm constantly trying to manage my collection. Whenever I go to a place I collect a lot of objects. I like cities that have holes in them and places that are slightly falling apart New York was like that in the early seventies I studied art history and I worked in sculpture for a while at that time many of the visual artists and dancers were involved in happenings and performances. Yeah I was immediately drawn to performance and felt that this was a language that I could develop when When I did switch people think it's such - at the time - a big switch but I saw it as just stepping over a line. I saw the possibilities of the structure performance could relate to music and include kind of content of literature or the structure of poetry and film and the history of film so I related all these other media to performance and so when I began to work with video I related the language of video and possibly the technology of video to film and so I thought of everything as a kind of development from film like there's a piece called vertical roll you see the frames of the fit and I think of them as frames of the film going back but they're not it's not a film it's a video When I got my first video camera in 1978, a Porter Peck and I started making videos in my loft. Video at that time allowed me to make what I called my own films by myself. I could just make them in my loft and also perform by myself in front of the monitor in this closed-circuit situation. I always make models when I do an installation. I make models and I design the installation in the model and so these are models of the Tate. I really have to work really hard for this and if you get excited you can't concentrate so at the moment I'm sure I'll get very excited when I see it start going up but I have to concentrate now because of these performances. There's the show, the installations that we've been working on for almost two years getting it all together and then the performances. I've done big shows like this and then had performances later on after the opening but I've never done a show with four performances. The first one is an improvisational piece with Jason Moran then the mirror piece too which will be in the Tanks based on a piece in 1969. Then there's a piece called Mirage which is a solo piece first done in 1976 and the last one is called Delay Delay. Delay Delay was a combination of different works that I did outdoors. It's going to be on the banks of the Thames at low tide and so although it's using old material it's a new work in a way. How do you stay interested in life? I just I'm just very interested in life and curious about many things and when I finish one piece I'm challenged to do the next one and to explore and experiment and to go into the unknown continuously. I mean one never knows when one begins a piece what it's really gonna be at the end. I find the images as I work. From the very beginning when I first started with the video, I was involved with this idea of layering and saying more than one thing at once either simultaneously side by side or now layered on top of each other. It's the way the brain works you think of one thing and you see another or you know one's mind is layered in that way. I'm very inspired by travel, by seeing new things, new places. Stream or River, Flight or Pattern: I travel led quite a bit during the year that I was making that or the two years and in all those places I had my camera and I recorded things that interested me. Not just anything but I was interested in birds for instance and trees and rituals which are in the video. That's how I stay inspired. What I try to do is state as clearly as possible my vision or depict or represent my vision through images and some words. I think I would only ask the people take the time to experience it and not try to understand it totally in the very beginning of the first view. I think it takes some time and sometimes multiple viewings. Not everybody has time for that but I hope they take some understanding of what I'm trying to to say


Early life and education

Jonas was born in 1936 in New York City.[3] In 1958 she received a bachelor's degree in Art History from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.[3] She later studied sculpture and drawing at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and received an MFA in Sculpture from Columbia University in 1965.[3] Immersed in New York's downtown art scene of the 1960s, Jonas studied with the choreographer Trisha Brown for two years.[4] Jonas also worked with choreographers Yvonne Rainer and Steve Paxton.[5]


Joan Jonas, Crystal Sculpture from Reanimation 2010-13 1 13 18 -moma (26124039387).jpg

Though Jonas began her career as a sculptor, by 1968 she moved into what was then leading-edge territory: mixing performance with props and mediated images, situated outdoors in urban or rural landscapes and/or industrial environments. Between 1968-1971, Jonas performed Mirror Pieces, works which used mirrors to as a central motif or prop.[6] In these early performances, the mirror became a symbol of (self-)portraiture, representation, the body, and real vs. imaginary, while also sometimes adding an element of danger and a connection to the audience that was integral to the work. In Wind (1968), Jonas filmed performers stiffly passing through the field of view against a wind that lent the choreography a psychological mystique.[7]

In 1970, Jonas went on a long trip to Japan — where she bought her first video camera and saw Noh, Bunraku and Kabuki theater — with the sculptor Richard Serra.[8] Her video performances between 1972 and 1976 pared the cast down to one actor, the artist herself, performing in her New York loft as Organic Honey, her seminal alter-ego invented as an "electronic erotic seductress," whose doll-like visage seen reflected bits on camera explored the fragmented female image and women’s shifting roles. drawings, costumes, masks, and interactions with the recorded image were effects that optically related to a doubling of perception and meaning.[6] In one such work, Organic Honey's Visual Telepathy (1972), Jonas scans her own fragmented image onto a video screen.[6] In Disturbances (1973), a woman swims silently beneath another woman's reflection.[9] Songdelay (1973), filmed with both telephoto and wide-angle lenses (which produce opposing extremes in depth of field) drew on Jonas' travels in Japan, where she saw groups of Noh performers clapping wood blocks and making angular movements. In a video interview for MoMA, Jonas described her work as androgynous; earlier works were more involved in the search for a feminine vernacular in art, she explains, and, unlike sculpture and painting, video was more open, less dominated by men.[10]

In 1975, Jonas appeared as a performer in the movie Keep Busy, by the photographer Robert Frank and novelist-screenwriter Rudy Wurlitzer.[9] In 1976 with The Juniper Tree, Jonas arrived at a narrative structure from diverse literary sources, such as fairy tales, mythology, poetry, and folk songs, formalizing a highly complex, nonlinear method of presentation. Using a colorful theatrical set and recorded sound, The Juniper Tree retold a Grimm Brothers tale of an archetypal evil stepmother and her family.

In the 1990s, Jonas’ My New Theater series moved away from a dependence on her physical presence. The three pieces investigated, in sequence: a Cape Breton dancer and his local culture; a dog jumping through a hoop while Jonas draws a landscape; and finally, using stones, costumes, memory-laden objects, and her dog, a video about the act of performing.[11] She also created 'Revolted by the Thought of Known Places… (1992) and Woman in the Well (1996/2000).

In her installation/performance commissioned for Documenta 11, Lines in the Sand (2002), Jonas investigated themes of the self and the body in a performance installation based on the writer H.D.’s (Hilda Doolittle) epic poem "Helen in Egypt" (1951–55), which reworks the myth of Helen of Troy. Jonas sited many of her early performances at The Kitchen, including Funnel (1972) and the screening of Vertical Roll (1972). In The Shape, The Scent, The Feel of Things, produced by The Renaissance Society in 2004,[12] Jonas draws on Aby Warburg's work on Hopi imagery.

Since 1970, Jonas has spent part of every summer in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. She has lived and worked in Greece, Morocco, India, Germany, the Netherlands, Iceland, Poland, Hungary, and Ireland.[9]

Jonas’ works were first performed in the 1960s and '70s for some of the most influential artists of her generation, including Richard Serra, Robert Smithson, Dan Graham and Laurie Anderson. While she is widely known in Europe, her groundbreaking performances are lesser known in the United States, where, as critic Douglas Crimp wrote of her work in 1983, "the rupture that is effected in modernist practices has subsequently been repressed, smoothed over."[13] Yet, in restaging early and recent works, Jonas continues to find new layers of meanings in themes and questions of gender and identity that have fueled her art for over thirty years.

Jonas' performance inspired by the writings of German anthropologist Aby Warburg, The Shape, The Scent, The Feel of Things, was commissioned by Dia Beacon and was twice performed between 2005 and 2006. This project established an ongoing and continuing collaboration with the pianist Jason Moran.[14]

For the season 2014/2015 in the Vienna State Opera Joan Jonas designed a large-scale picture (176 sqm) as part of the exhibition series Safety Curtain, conceived by museum in progress.[15]

Jonas' was also featured as a choreographer for Robert Ashley's Opera titled Celestial Excursions in 2003[5]


From 1993, the New York-based Jonas spent part of each year in Los Angeles, teaching a course in New Genres at the UCLA School of the Arts.[9] In 1994, she was made a full professor at the State Academy of Fine Arts Stuttgart, Germany.[9] Since 1998, she has been a professor of visual arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she is currently Professor Emerita in Art, Culture, and Technology within the School of Architecture and Planning.[1]

Exhibitions and performances


Jonas has performed her works at countless institutions and venues, including:

Solo exhibitions

Jonas has had a number of solo exhibitions, including:

Group exhibitions

Jonas has participated in many international group exhibitions, including:

In 2009, she exhibited for the first (and only other) time at the Venice Biennale.[29]

In 2015, Jonas represented the United States of America at the Venice Biennale.[30][31] She was the sixth female artist to represent the United States at Venice since 1990.[29]


Jonas has been awarded fellowships and grants for choreography, video, and visual arts from the National Endowment for the Arts; Rockefeller Foundation; Contemporary Art Television (CAT) Fund; Television Laboratory at WNET/13, New York; Artists' Television Workshop at WXXI-TV, Rochester, New York; and Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD).[4] Jonas has received the Hyogo Prefecture Museum of Modern Art Prize at the Tokyo International Video Art Festival, the Polaroid Award for Video, and the American Film Institute Maya Deren Award for Video.[1]

In 2009, Jonas was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum.[29]

In 2012, Jonas was honored on the occasion of the Kitchen Spring Gala Benefit.[32]

Jonas was named Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon 2016.[33]In 2018, Jonas won the Kyoto Prize for Art.[34]

Jonas' has received awards from Anonymous Was A Woman (1998); the Rockefeller Foundation (1990); American Film Institute’s Maya Deren Award for Video (1989); Guggenheim Foundation (1976); and the National Endowment for the Arts (1974).[5]

Art market

Joan Jonas is represented in New York City by Gavin Brown's enterprise[35] and in Los Angeles by Rosamund Felsen Gallery.[36]

Public collections

Jonas' work can be found in a number of public institutions, including:


  1. ^ a b c Faculty: Joan Jonas ACT at MIT - MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology.
  2. ^ "Artist Joan Jonas", Venice Bienniale, Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "Joan Jonas: Biography" Archived 2011-01-21 at the Wayback Machine, Electronic Arts Intermix, Retrieved August 13, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Collection Online - Joan Jonas". Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Archived from the original on April 16, 2014. Retrieved June 8, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c "Joan Jonas".
  6. ^ a b c d Johnson, Cecile. "MoMA The Collection: Joan Jonas", Museum of Modern Art, Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  7. ^ "Electronic Arts Intermix: Wind, Joan Jonas". Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  8. ^ Lisa Cohen (April 5, 2015), Joan Jonas: All at Once T: The New York Times Style Magazine.
  9. ^ a b c d e Susan Morgan (April 21, 1996). "Finding the Emotion in Images". Los Angeles Times.
  10. ^ Fisher, Cora (May 2010). "Joan Jonas Mirage". The Brooklyn Rail.
  11. ^ "Joan Jonas. My New Theater 1. 1997 | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  12. ^ Joan Jonas at the Renaissance Society Accessed 2018-01-08.
  13. ^ Art, Walker. "Joan Jonas — Collections — Walker Art Center". Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  14. ^ "Joan Jonas:The Shape, the Scent, the Feel of Things". Dia Beacon. 2005. Retrieved December 17, 2018.
  15. ^ Safety Curtain 2014/15: Joan Jonas. Accessed 2014-10-09.
  16. ^ "Joan Jonas: The Shape, the Scent, the Feel of Things" Archived 2014-08-19 at the Wayback Machine, Dia Art Foundation, Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  17. ^ "Joan Jonas" Archived 2014-08-19 at the Wayback Machine, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  18. ^ "Joan Jonas", Performa, Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  19. ^ "Art Night: Southwark Cathedral", ICA, Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  20. ^ Stone, Katie. "Joan Jonas: Five Works Queens Museum of Art", Brooklyn Rail, Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  21. ^ "Joan Jonas: Light Time Tales", HangarBicocca, Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  22. ^ "Safety Curtain 2014/2015: Joan Jonas", a project by museum in progress, opening: November 14, 2014, Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  23. ^ Staff, N. Y. R. "'Joan Jonas: What Is Found in the Windowless House Is True'". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  24. ^ "Joan Jonas", Tate Modern, Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  25. ^ Schwabsky, Barry (September 4, 2019). "Joan Jonas: Moving Off The Land II". The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  26. ^ Julia Halperin (April 16, 2014), Video veteran Joan Jonas to represent US in Venice Archived 2014-04-17 at the Wayback Machine The Art Newspaper.
  27. ^ "Point of View", New Museum, Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  28. ^ "Artists in the exhibition" Archived 2014-02-27 at the Wayback Machine, MoCA Los Angeles, Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  29. ^ a b c Sebastian Smee (April 26, 2014). "Joan Jonas to represent US at Venice Biennale". Boston Globe.
  30. ^ Carol Vogel (April 15, 2014), Joan Jonas to Represent United States at 2015 Venice Biennale New York Times.
  31. ^ Smith, Roberta (May 8, 2015). "Review: Joan Jonas's Venice Biennale Pavilion Is a Triumph". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  32. ^ Gary Shapiro (May 25, 2012), They Can Surely Stand the Heat Wall Street Journal.
  33. ^ {{Cite web |url=
  34. ^ Greenberger, Alex (June 15, 2018). "Joan Jonas Wins $900,000 Kyoto Prize". ARTnews. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  35. ^ "Gavin Brown's enterprise  - Artists - Joan Jonas". Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  36. ^ "Artists - Rosamund Felsen Gallery". Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  37. ^ "Collection Online: Joan Jonas", Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Retrieved August 17, 2014.

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 12 November 2019, at 21:36
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