Joan Jonas

Born 1936
Hometown New York, NY
Lives and Works New York, NY
MFA, Columbia University, New York, NY, 1965
School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, 1961
BA Art History and Sculpture, Mount Holyoke College, Mount Holyoke, MA, 1958

Centre Pompidou-Musee National d’Art Moderne, Paris, France

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

National Gallery of Canada-Musee des Beaux-arts du Canada, Ottawa, Canada

Reina Sofia National Museum Art Centre, Madrid, Spain

Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada

The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

Adopting the idea of art-as-process, Jonas turned from painting and sculpture to performance art, systematically yet intuitively exploring different aspects of how live events could be structured in time and space. Her early performances, called Mirror Pieces (1968–71), were held in large spaces and incorporated the use of large and small mirrors, either as a central motif or as props. (One of these works was re-created at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in June 2010: Mirror Piece I: Reconfigured combined the original work's concerns with time and site-specificity with an exploration of the role of memory and the document in reperformance.) Beginning in the early 1970s, Jonas's works became increasingly symbolic, gamelike, and ritualistic. In Organic Honey's Visual Telepathy (1972), for example, Jonas took the role of Organic Honey, a part-real, part-mythical, and part-fantastical woman who explores the possibilities of female imagery and eroticism, repeatedly scanning her own image in a video monitor connected to a live camera. Later that year she began producing single-channel videos, such as Vertical Roll (1972), in which she used performance, static, and repetition to investigate the inherent formal qualities of video. By the early 1980s Jonas had begun to create complex, nonlinear narratives premised on literary and historical texts, including science fiction (Double Lunar Dogs, 1984), medieval Icelandic sagas (Volcano Saga, 1989), and, more recently, the writings and biography of the art historian Aby Warburg (The Shape, the Scent, the Feel of Things, 2004). Her most recent work explores the relationship between new digital media and performance in multichannel video installations.

Jonas's work has been the subject of several major retrospectives, including exhibitions at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands (1979); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1983, 1994); Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany (2001); and Queens Museum of Art, New York (2004). She has also had solo exhibitions and presented performances at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1974); the Kitchen, New York (1975); San Francisco Museum of Art (1976); Kunstmuseum Bern (2004); and University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2008). She has been awarded fellowships and grants 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).

Courtesy of the Guggenheim Museum

Works Available for Purchase

Artworks by the Artist at Fairs

NADA New York 2015



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