biography

Joan Jonas was born in 1936 in New York, where she lives and works.

Jonas is one of the most significant artists in the history of video and performance. Beginning in the 1960s, she placed female subjectivity at the center of her work, employing a complex linguistic repertoire including gestures, storytelling and images in movement.

A tireless experimenter, Jonas explores the possibilities inherent to the interdisciplinary nature of art, a characteristic that has made her a point of reference for a young generation of artists. Over time, she has established an intense relationship of exchange in collaborations with visual artists such as Peter Campus and Richard Serra, the performer Ragani Haas and musicians Alvin Curran and Jason Moran. The continuous renewal and transpositions of the media Jonas experiments with sources from fairy tales to essays, from myths to local folklore and relate newly to contemporary life, both poetically and politically.

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Joan Jonas was born in 1936 in New York, where she lives and works.

Jonas is one of the most significant artists in the history of video and performance. Beginning in the 1960s, she placed female subjectivity at the center of her work, employing a complex linguistic repertoire including gestures, storytelling and images in movement.

A tireless experimenter, Jonas explores the possibilities inherent to the interdisciplinary nature of art, a characteristic that has made her a point of reference for a young generation of artists. Over time, she has established an intense relationship of exchange in collaborations with visual artists such as Peter Campus and Richard Serra, the performer Ragani Haas and musicians Alvin Curran and Jason Moran. The continuous renewal and transpositions of the media Jonas experiments with sources from fairy tales to essays, from myths to local folklore and relate newly to contemporary life, both poetically and politically.

Institutions that have hosted solo shows by Joan Jonas include: The Museum of Modern Art (2024); The Drawing Center, NY, USA (2024); Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany (2022); Dia Art Foundation, Beacon, New York (2021); Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Spain (2020); Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, San Paolo, Brasil (2020); Kyoto City University of Arts, Kyoto, Japan, organized by Inamori Foundation (2019); Fundação de Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2019); Tate Modern, London, UK (2018); Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Boston (2017); NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, Singapore (2016); Fundacion Botin, Santander, Spain (2016); HangarBicocca, Milan, Italy (2014); Sigmund Freud Museum, Wien, Austria (2006); Le Plateau e Jeu de Paume / Hotel de Sully, Paris, France (2005); Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Chicago (2004); Queens Museum of Art, New York (2003); Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, Germany (2000); Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands (1994).

Her work has been included in group exhibitions such as: Rewilding, Khunsthaus Baselland, Basel(2024); Nature. Fields. Memory, Kunsthaus Baselland, Basel (2023); Paraventi, Fondazione Prada, Milano (2023); Prelude. Poetic Intention, MACBA, Barcelona (2022); Exodus and Communal Life, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid (2022); at dawn, Julia Stoschek Collection, Berlin, Germany (2022); The Imperament Display II, LUMA Foundation, Arles, France (2022); AQUARIA. Or the Illusion of a Boxed Sea, MAAT, Lisbon, Portugal (2021); The Paradox of Stillness: Art, Object, and Performance, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota (2021); The Unexpected Subject. 1978 Art and Feminism in Italy, FM Centre for Contemporary Art, Milan, Italy (2019); The Long Run, MoMA The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2017); DO DISTURB, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2015). Among other institution that shown works by Joan Jonas: The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain (2010); La Biennale di Venezia (2009), Venice, Italy; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain (2009); Castello di Rivoli, Turin, Italy (2006); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain (2006); Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Chicago (2004); P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York (2003); Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York (2001); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1995).

In 2015 Jonas represented the United States at the 56th Venice Biennale. She has taken part in Documenta V, VI, VII, VIII, XI, XIII in Kassel, Germany. In 2019 the artist received the prestigious Kyoto Prize and in 2009 she obtained the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.

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works

Stream or River Flight or Pattern II, 2016

Multimedia installation: tinted walls, wall drawings, 2 video projections

Dimensions variable

Stream or River Flight or Pattern II, 2016 (video still)

Multimedia installation: tinted walls, wall drawings, 2 video projections

Dimensions variable

Stream or River Flight or Pattern II, 2016 (video still)

Multimedia installation: tinted walls, wall drawings, 2 video projections

Dimensions variable

Flawless Decoys, 2017

Single-channel video (color, sounds)

24' 07" looped

FUTURE LOT: Reading Dante, 2008

Video

6' 25"

Mirror Improvisation, 2005

Single-channel video (color, sounds)

6' 33" looped

Wolf Lights, 2004-2005

Single-channel video (color, sounds)

2' 49" looped

Performance drawing from Moving Off the Land, 2018

oil stick on paper

128 × 92 cm; 137 × 101,4 × 5 cm framed

Untitled from Reanimation performance, 2014

Chalk on paper

76,5 × 56,7 cm; 82,8 × 62,7 × 4 cm framed

Untitled from Reanimation performance, 2014

Oil stick on paper

76,5 × 56,5 cm; 83 × 62,8 × 4 cm framed

Untitled, 2015

Ink on paper

29,3 × 20,5 cm

Untitled, 2015

Ink on paper

29 × 20 cm

Untitled, 2015

Ink on paper

29,5 × 20 cm

Untitled from Reanimation performance, 2014

Chalk on paper

126 × 106 cm; 134,5 × 113,8 cm framed

Untitled from Reanimation performance, 2014

Chalk on paper

126 × 106 cm

Reading Dante III, Philadelphia # 1, 2010

Ink on paper

25 × 32 cm; 29,5 × 36,5 cm framed

Reading Dante III, Philadelphia # 3, 2010

Ink on paper

25 × 32 cm; 29,5 × 36,5 cm framed

Reading Dante III, Philadelphia # 5, 2010

Ink on paper

25 × 32 cm; 29,5 × 36,5 cm framed

Reading Dante III, Philadelphia # 8, 2010

Ink on paper

25 × 32 cm; 29,5 × 36,5 cm framed

public exhibitions

The Museum of Modern Art

NY, USA

Joan Jonas: Good Night Good Morning

14.3 – 6.7.2024

The Drawing Center

NY, USA

Joan Jonas: Animal, Vegetable, Mineral

6.3 – 2.6.2024

Courtesy: The Drawing Center, Photo by Daniel Terna

Fondazione Prada

Milan, IT

Paraventi: Folding Screens from the 17th to 21st Centuries

26.10.2023 – 22.2.2024

Credits: Delfino Sisto Legnani e Alessandro Saletta

Kochi-Muziris Biennale

Kochi, JP

23.12.2022 – 10.4.2023

Credits: Kochi Biennale Foundation

Haus der Kunst

Munich

Joan Jonas

9.9.2022 – 26.2.2023

Photo: Maximilian Geuter

Haus der Kunst

Munich

2022

Out Takes. What the Storm Washed In

VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2022
. Photo: Franz Kimmel

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia

Madrid, SP

Moving Off the Land IV

23.11.2021 – 1.2.2023

Photo: Roman Lores

Fondazione Ratti

Como, IT

Antonio's dream

10.10.2021 – 20.2.2022

Photo: Agostino Osio

Fundação Bienal de São Paulo

Pavilhão da Bienal

São Paulo, BS

Though it’s dark, still I sing

4.9.2020 – 5.12.2021

Photo: Levi Fanan

Dia Beacon’s lower-level galleries

Beacon, NY, USA

Joan Jonas

8.10.2021 – 13.3.2023

© Joan Jonas/Artists Rights Society(ARS), New York. Photo: Bill Jacobson Studio, New York

Pinacoteca de São Paulo

São Paulo, BS

Joan Jonas: Five Decades

15.10.2020 – 8.2.2021

Photo: Levi Fanan

Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza

Madrid, SP

Moving Off the Land II

25.2 – 18.5.2020

Photo: Roberto Ruiz

Kyoto City University of Arts Art Gallery @KCUA

Kyoto, JP

Joan Jonas. Five Rooms For Kyoto: 1972–2019

14.12.2019 – 2.2.2020

Photo by Takeru Koroda, courtesy of Kyoto City University of Arts

ROHM Theatre

Kyoto, JP

Joan Jonas. Reanimation

12.12 – 12.12.2019

Photo by Yoshikazu Inoue, courtesy of ROHM Theatre Kyoto

Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art

Porto, PT

Joan Jonas

25.5 – 1.9.2019

Photo: Courtesy of Serralves © Filipe Braga

Walker Art Center

Minneapolis, USA

The Body Electric

30.3 – 21.7.2019

Photo: Bobby Rogers. Courtesy: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Ocean Space

Chiesa di San Lorenzo

Venice, IT

Joan Jonas, Moving Off the Land II

24.3 – 29.9.2019

Copyright: © Photo Enrico Fiorese, TBA21-Academy

Remai Modern

Saskatoon, Canada

Joan Jonas: Videos

26.2 – 26.5.2019

Photo: Blaine Campbell

Fenway Gallery

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Boston, USA

Joan Jonas: I Know Why They Left,

23.1 – 30.10.2019

Photo: © Stewart Clements/Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

TATE Modern

London, UK

They Come to Us without a Word II

14.3 – 5.8.2018


Photo: Moira Ricci

TATE Modern

London, UK

Joan Jonas

14.3 – 5.8.2018

Photo: Thomas Müller

Mount Holyoke College Art Museum

South Hadley, Massachusetts, USA

Promise of the Infinite: Joan Jonas and the Mirror

6.3 – 2.6.2024

Courtesy of The Drawing Center; Photo by Daniel Terna

press

‘My Body Was My Vehicle’: Joan Jonas on Becoming a Performance Artist

Lynne Tillman meets with her long-time friend to discuss fairytales and the artist’s beautifully layered works

Lynne Tillman

Frieze

April 29, 2024

Meet Joan Jonas, One of America’s Most Elusive Artists

Susan Dominus

The New York Times

March 1, 2024

Tre grandi artiste americane in mostra da Raffaella Cortese

Francesca Interlenghi

Exibart

February 28, 2023

Shifting Spaces

Max Glauner

Kunstforum International

June–July 2020

‘It’s Like Practicing the Piano’: Watch Interdisciplinary Artist Joan Jonas Describe How Drawing Supports Her Other Creative Pursuits

Caroline Goldstein

Artnet news

February 27, 2020

Joan Jonas

Giulia Bortoluzzi

L'Officiel Art

May 14, 2019

Joan Jonas

Liam Gillick

ArtReview

March 2018

Joan Jonas: All at Once

Lisa Cohen

The New York Time Style Megazine

April 5, 2015

Joan Jonas

Galleria Raffaella Cortese | Via Stradella 7

Paola Nicolin

Artforum

January 16, 2011

Joan Jonas by Karin Schneider

Karin Schneider

Bomb

July 1, 2010

publications

JOAN JONAS: GOOD NIGHT GOOD MORNING

Edited by Ana Janevski with Lilia Rocio Taboada. With contributions by Brandon Eng, Danielle Jackson, Piper Marshall, Chus Martínez, Jason Moran, Lilia Rocio Taboada, Molly Superfine, Gee Wesley, and Gillian Young; Photographic Portfolio: Zoe Leonard

MOMA

New York

2024

JOAN JONAS next move in a mirror world

Barbara Clausen and Kristin Poor with Kelly Kivland

Dia Art Foundation

Paris

2024

Joan Jonas

Published by DABA and The Drawing Center on occasion of the exhibition Joan Jonas: Animal, Vegetable, Mineral

Laura Hoptman, Alec Recinos

DABA The Drawing Center

New York

2023

Joan Jonas: I Know Why They Left

Pieranna Cavalchini

Corraini

Milano

2019

Jonas Jonas

Julienne Lorz, Andrea Lissoni and João Ribas

Hirmer Verlag

Munich

2018

Joan Jonas Is on Our Mind

Edited by Frances Richard

CCA Wattis

San Francisco

2017

In the Shadow a Shadow: The Work of Joan Jonas

Edited by Joan Simon

Gregory R. Miller & Co.

New York

2015

video


A visit to Joan Jonas' New York loft

2024

Visit artist Joan Jonas in her SoHo loft and enter her world of collected objects. A trailblazer of video and performance art, she began her decades-long career working in New York’s vibrant Downtown art scene of the 1960s and ’70s. Here she reflects on the city’s changing landscape, and takes us through the recurring props (mirrors, masks, and kites) and themes (play, mythology, our relationship to animals) that inspire her radical work.


Joan Jonas | Exhibition at Haus der Kunst

2022

In this video, the artist herself as well as the curators Andrea Lissoni and Julienne Lorz talk about her work, the exhibition and underlying topics such as the importance of water for the ecosystem, recurring sculptural motifs or unexpected rituals.


Moving Off the Land II

2020

Artist talk during the opening of Joan Jonas's exhibition "Moving Off the Land II", at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, on February 24, 2020. Joan Jonas, artist, and Stefanie Hessler, curator, introduced by Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, TBA21 founder and chairwoman, and Guillermo Solana, Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza artistic director.


Joan Jonas: Drawings

2014

From Art21’s Extended Play series Video courtesy Art21, art21.org, founded 1997


Joan Jonas Lecture at CCA

2014

Lecture at California College of the Arts, October 9, 2014 organized by CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts


Joan Jonas on Feminism

2009

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