Joan Jonas to Appear at La Biennale di Venezia 56th International Art Exhibition

Joan Jonas to Appear at La Biennale di Venezia 56th International Art Exhibition

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology announces that the MIT List Visual Arts Center, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, will present Joan Jonas as the representative for the United States at La Biennale di Venezia 56th International Art Exhibition, 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. She will create a new multimedia installation specifically for the U.S. Pavilion in Venice, Italy, to 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 in the MIT Program in Art, Culture and Technology. 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.

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

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.

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."

ABOUT THE ARTIST

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 HangarBicocca, 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.

ABOUT THE COMMISSIONER/CURATORS

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. She is Founding Director of the Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, where she is also a professor in the School of Art, Media and Design. She recently curatedTheatrical Fields, commissioned by Bildmuseet Umeå, Sweden (2013-14), which includes various works by Joan Jonas and will be shown at the CCA in Singapore in Summer/Fall 2014.

ABOUT LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA

The Venice Biennale dates to 1895, when the first International Art Exhibition was organized. It is one of the most important international biennials and cultural institutions in the world, introducing hundreds of thousands of visitors to exciting new art every two years. The 56th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (May 9-November 22, 2015) is directed by Okwui Enwezor, a curator, art critic, and writer, and the Director of the Haus der Kunst, Munich.

ABOUT THE U.S. PAVILION

The United States Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, a building in the neo-classical style, opened on May 4, 1930. Since 1986, The U.S. Pavilion has been owned by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and managed by the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, which works closely with the Department of State and exhibition curators to install and maintain all official U.S. exhibitions presented in the Pavilion. Every two years, museum curators from across the U.S. detail their visions for the U.S. Pavilion in proposals that are reviewed by the NEA Federal Advisory Committee on International Exhibitions (FACIE), a group comprising curators, museum directors, and artists who then submit their recommendations to the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Past exhibitions can be viewed on the Peggy Guggenheim Collection website at:

http://www.guggenheim-venice.it/inglese/pavilion/index.php

ABOUT MIT AT LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA

Joan Jonas' exhibition at the U.S. Pavilion in 2015 will be the third Venice Biennale project the MIT List Visual Arts Center has presented, preceded by Fred Wilson: Speak of Me as I Am (2003) (commissioner Kathleen Goncharov) and Ann Hamilton:Myein (1999) (commissioners Katy Kline and Helaine Posner). In addition, MIT alumna Jennifer Allora represented the United States in 2011 in Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla: Gloria, organized by the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

ABOUT THE MIT LIST VISUAL ARTS CENTER

In 1950, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology established the Hayden Gallery. In 1985, it was renamed the List Visual Arts Center in recognition of a gift from Vera and Albert List and relocated to its current location in the Wiesner Building, which was designed by MIT Alumnus I.M. Pei (B.S. Architecture, 1940), and Partners Architects.

Highly respected for its innovative, provocative, and scholarly exhibitions and publications, the List is one of the most significant university art galleries in the country. It presents six to nine exhibitions annually and a broad range of educational programs. The Center maintains and adds to MIT's permanent collection; commissions new works through the MIT Percent-for-Art program, a collection of more than 50 site-specific artworks throughout the campus; and oversees the Student Loan Art Program, a very popular and unusual program for a university, which lends more than 500 works of art annually to MIT undergraduate and graduate students.

For more information, visit: http://listart.mit.edu

ABOUT THE ARTS AT MIT

Nearly 80 percent of incoming freshmen have prior training in the arts and nearly 50 percent of all MIT undergraduates enroll in arts courses each year. The arts at MIT connect creative minds across disciplines and encourage a lifetime of exploration and self-discovery. They are rooted in experimentation, risk-taking, and imaginative problem solving. The arts strengthen MIT's commitment to the aesthetic, human, and social dimensions of research and innovation. Artistic knowledge and creation exemplify MIT's motto-mens et manus, mind and hand. The arts are essential to MIT's mission to build a better society and meet the challenges of the 21st century.

For more information, visit: http://arts.mit.edu

ABOUT THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE'S BUREAU OF EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL AFFAIRS

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) promotes international mutual understanding through a wide range of academic, cultural, professional, and sports exchange programs. ECA exchanges engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and emerging leaders in many fields in the United States and in more than 160 countries. Alumni of ECA exchanges comprise over one million people around the world, including more than 40 Nobel Laureates and more than 300 current or former heads of state and government around the world.

Photo: The Shape, the Scent, the Feel of Things, Joan Jonas, performance at Dia Beacon, 2005.

Photo Credit: Paula Court

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