Joan Jonas has been chosen as the representative for the United States at La Biennale di Venezia 56th International Art Exhibition. MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) has announced that it will present the artist at the world’s most prestigious contemporary art event. Jonas is a pioneering figure in performance art and video and is one of the most important contemporary artists today.
For the pavilion, she will create a new multimedia installation specifically the site in Venice, which will be on view May 9–November 22, 2015. Jonas’ art developed out of her art history studies, and then expanded to performance and film in the 1960s through her involvement with the New York avant-garde scene. Her work has been a major influence on contemporary art. Jonas has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1998 and is currently Professor Emerita. For the five galleries of the U.S. Pavilion, Joan Jonas will create new, interrelated site-responsive installations—incorporating video, drawings, objects, and sound—that focus on, as she notes, “landscape and natural phenomena” and “the ocean as a poetic, totemic, and natural entity, as a life source and home to a universe of beings.” Jonas herself shoots all the video, creates the sculptural and drawn elements, writes the script, and designs the soundtrack as well as the visitor’s overall journey through the interrelated elements of her multimedia, temporal work.
The U.S. Pavilion is curated by Ute Meta Bauer, a former colleague of Jonas’ at MIT who is currently the director of the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, and by Paul C. Ha, director of the MIT List Visual Arts Center who also serves as commissioner for the project.
Ha said, “Joan’s voice and vision continue to be powerful forces in contemporary art, and I am proud that we will present her newest work in Venice, one of the most important venues to present art. As I know from my encounters with her work, the experience will forever alter how visitors perceive visual art and understand how Jonas vitally constructs hers with a dynamic mix of sight and sound: sculpture, video, drawing, spoken and written text, and music.” Joan Jonas (b. 1936, New York, NY, USA) lives and works in New York. Her work encompasses video, performance, installation, sound, text, and drawing. Since 1968, her practice has explored ways of seeing, the rhythms of ritual, and the authority of objects and gestures.
The recipient of numerous honors and awards, Jonas’ most recent solo exhibitions include those at Hangar Bicocca, Milan (forthcoming 2014); Centre for Contemporary Art, Kitakyushu Project Gallery, Japan (2014); Kulturhuset Stadsteatern Stockholm (2013); Proyecto Paralelo, Mexico (2013); Contemporary Art Museum, Houston (2013); Bergen Kunsthall, Norway (2011); and Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010). She has been represented in dOCUMENTA in Kassel, Germany, six times since 1972.
“Joan is incredibly respected in the international art world, and has been a major draw and influential teacher during her 15 year tenure at MIT”, said Philip S. Khoury, Ford International Professor of History and Associate Provost, who oversees the arts at MIT. Paul C. Ha, director of the MIT List Visual Arts Center, has more than 25 years of professional experience in art and museum administration, fundraising, curating, and teaching. He has curated and worked with more than 100 artists in solo and group exhibitions, and many artists received their first major museum exhibitions with his support at the List Center, Yale University Art Gallery, White Columns, and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Ute Meta Bauer is a veteran curator of exhibitions and presentations on contemporary art, film, video, and sound, with a focus on transdisciplinary formats.