Joan Jonas (b. 1936 New York) lives and works in New York. She is considered a pioneer of video and performance art emerging in the late 1960s. Her influence is crucial to the development of many contemporary art genres; from performance and video to conceptual art and theatre. Throughout her long artistic career Jonas tirelessly explores the female subjectivity, employing a complex repertoire including gestures, self-representations and images in movement. Her oeuvre is distinguished by a vast repertoire of themes and expressions which, starting with her first self-reflective works – in which the artist worked around transformations of her own body – and leading all the way to her recent creations connected with an investigation into texts and the story, examines reality and its representation. Her artistic practice is based on intuitive forms of assembly and superimposition, and utilizes elements taken from epic poetry, fables and short stories which, though drawn from specific cultures and time periods, take on a universal valence.
Jonas has received numerous honours from various institutions including: The Guggenheim Foundation (1976) and The Rockefeller Foundation (1990); as well as recognitions like the CAPS Award (1971 and 1974), the Deren Award given by the American Film Institute (1989), and the Anonymous Was A Woman Award (1998). She has held solo shows and performances at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1994), Queens Museum of Art in New York (2004), the Dia:Beacon in New York (2005), Castello di Rivoli (2006) and at MACBA in Barcelona (2007). The artist has also participated in numerous group shows over the past thirty years, including the 2009 Venice Biennale and various editions of Documenta in Kassel (1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 2002, 2012). In 2015 Joan Jonas has represented the United States at the 56th Venice Biennale. Recently Joan Jonas was made Professor emerita at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston.