Contemporary Art

MIT List Visual Arts – Joan Jonas at the 2015 Venice Biennale (2015)

joan jonas

The Barbara Lee Family Foundation supported artist Joan Jonas in her exhibit representing the United States at the 2015 Venice Biennale. Jonas was a pioneer of video and performance art, and an acclaimed multimedia artist whose work typically encompasses video, performance, installation, sound, text, and drawing. Trained in art history and sculpture, Jonas was a central figure in the performance art movement of the late 1960s, and her experiments and productions in the late 1960s and early 1970s continue to be crucial to the development of many contemporary art genres, from performance and video to conceptual art and theater. Since 1968, her practice has explored ways of seeing, the rhythms of ritual, and the authority of objects and gestures.

For the five galleries of the U.S. Pavilion, Joan Jonas created new, interrelated site-responsive installations—incorporating video, drawings, objects, and sound—that focus on, as she noted, “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 shot all the video, created the sculptural and drawn elements, wrote the script, and designed the soundtrack as well as the visitor’s overall journey through the interrelated elements of her multimedia, temporal work.

This exhibition was presented by the MIT List Visual Arts Center and was curated by Paul C. Ha and Ute Meta Bauer. It was on view May 9-November 22, 2015.