A Conversation with Joan Jonas and Lynne Cooke

October 28, 2015
Event Types
Talk / Lecture
Photo of the artist performing with a large green screen in the background.

Video Still, Joan Jonas, Lines in the Sand performance at Documenta 11 Kassel, 2002. Photo by Werner Maschmann.

Join us for a special conversation with artist Joan Jonas and Lynne Cooke, senior curator at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., as they discuss Jonas’s exhibition They Come to Us without a Word. Jonas is currently representing the United States of America at the 56th Venice Biennale with this new commission presented by the MIT List Visual Arts Center. The exhibition is on view in the U.S. Pavilion through November 22.

About the Speakers

Joan Jonas (b. 1936, New York, NY, USA) is 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.

Joan Jonas is a New York native and she continues to live and work in New York City. She received a B.A. in Art History from Mount Holyoke College in 1958, studied sculpture at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and received an M.F.A. in Sculpture from Columbia University in 1965. Jonas has taught at MIT since 1998, and is currently Professor Emerita in the MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology within the School of Architecture and Planning. 

Lynne Cooke, renowned art scholar, is the senior curator, special projects in modern art, at the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Before her current position at the National Gallery of Art, Cooke was deputy director and chief curator at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, 2008–2012; curator, Dia Art Foundation, New York, 1991–2008; artistic director, 10th Biennale of Sydney, 1994–1996; co-curator, 1991 Carnegie International, The Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; and lecturer, history of art, University College, London University. Cooke has also worked in various capacities at numerous academic institutions including Yale University, New Haven; Malmö Art Academy, Malmö, Sweden; Bard College, New York; and La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia. Other professional experience includes serving on the editorial board of The Burlington Magazine, 1988 to present, and on the Turner Prize Committee, Tate Gallery, London, 1985.