Artist Joan Jonas tapped for Venice Biennale

Paula Court

Artist Joan Jonas performs her piece "The Shape, the Scent, the Feel of Things" at Dia Beacon in 2005.


Artist and MIT professor emerita Joan Jonas, 77, has been chosen to represent the United States at the 56th Venice Biennale, the world’s most prestigious exhibition of contemporary art. A pioneer in performance and video art, Jonas is known for poignant, beguiling installations that combine moving images, sound, and text. She was put forward for the prestigious role by Paul Ha, the director of the MIT List Visual Arts Center, who will curate the Venice show with Ute Meta Bauer, a former MIT colleague of Jonas. The US pavilion at the Venice Biennale is seen by about half a million people. Every two years, curators in museums and institutions around the country vie for the chance to work with artists to mount exhibitions there. Jonas will create a new installation for the US pavilion, on view May 9-Nov. 22, 2015. “I just feel incredibly happy for her,” said Ha on Tuesday. “She is an artist who is incredibly respected, and she is finally getting her due. She now gets to represent her country in her pavilion.”

Sebastian Smee can be reached at
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