Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) Presents Joan Jonas

The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) presents Joan Jonas: Reading Dante III, a multi-media installation. Joan Jonas, who emerged in New York City in the late 1960s and early 1970s as a pioneer in video and performance art, will be performing Reading Dante II, a one-night event on Saturday, December 11th.

Inspired by her reading of Dante’s 14th Century epic poem The Divine Comedy, Jonas has drawn on verses from all three canticas, the Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise to develop multiple iterations of her installation Reading Dante III and performance Reading Dante II. In these works, Jonas translates Dante’s vision according to her perspective in the present moment. Both the medieval era of Dante and our own time, she has noted, are periods of extraordinary change.

For her installation Reading Dante III, Jonas layers many mediums and images to create an atmospheric environment. In the darkened gallery large-scale, white-chalk wall drawings, projected drawings, and intimate drawings displayed on table-tops coexist with video footage, benches, and paper lamps. In the simultaneously running videos—Reading Dante III, Street Scene Drawing, Drawing Dante, Medical Diagrams—Dante’s verses are recited and integrated with depictions of performances and images. Jonas’ use of a free-association method to create a personal, eccentric visual language brings her interpretation of Dante’s work to life while allowing her viewers to simply experience the resulting work without too many preconditions.

The live performance Reading Dante II will be held at The Fabric Workshop and Museum on Saturday, December 11th, in a space specifically designed for this one-night show. Joan Jonas will be performing with her frequent collaborator Ragani Haas. Jonas states, “I call it Reading Dante because it allows me a great deal of freedom; I can enter the text.”

Joan Jonas (b. New York, 1936) is a seminal figure in American post-war contemporary art. The artist works in several mediums including: performance art, video art, sculpture, filmmaking, photography and painting. She received her MFA from Columbia University in 1965. Jonas currently teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Massachusetts. In 2009, the artist was awarded the Guggenheim’s first annual Lifetime Achievement Award. Joan Jonas is represented by the Rosamund Felsen Gallery in Los Angeles, Wilkinson Gallery in London, and the Yvon Lambert New York, Paris.

Jonas has had retrospectives at the Queens Museum of Art, New York (2003), Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart Germany (2000), and at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1994). The artist has been represented in Documenta V, VI, VII in Kassel, Germany. She was commissioned to develop an installation and a subsequent performance entitled Lines in the Sand for Documenta XI. It was recreated at the Tate Modern in London, and the Kitchen in New York in 2004. The first installation and performance of Jonas’ Reading Dante was at the 2008 Biennale of Sydney. Later that year Jonas performed the work at the Yokohama Triennale, and also performed a reading at The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Jonas was featured in the Arsenal of the 2009 Venice Biennale where she installed Reading Dante II. The artist presented Reading Dante II at the Performing Garage in New York as part of Performa ’09, and selected elements of this performance were featured in Reading Dante III at Yvon Lambert New York in early 2010.

Jonas has also exhibited in solo shows or performed at institutions such as: Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Sigmund Freud Museum, Vienna, Austria; Dia:Beacon, Beacon, New York; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain; Le Plateau and Jeu de Paume/ Hotel de Sully, Paris, France; Renaissance Society, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois.

Jonas has been awarded fellowships and grants for choreography, video, and visual arts from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the CAT Fund, the Artist TV Lab at WNET/13 (New York City), the Television Workshop at WXX1 (Rochester), and the Deutsche Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) in Germany. Jonas has received the Hyogo Prefecture Museum of Modern Art Prize at the Tokyo International Video Art Festival, the Polaroid Award for Video, and the American Film Institute Maya Deren Award for Video. Joan Jonas is a 2009 recipient of the United States Artists Visual Arts Fellows grant.

Image: Joan Jonas, Fabric Workshop and Museum

Reading Dante III
October 1, 2010 – January 2011

Reading Dante II
Special Live Performance December 11, 2010 at 7pm
Reception starting at 6pm

The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) is the only non-profit arts organization in the United States devoted to creating new work in new materials and new media in collaboration with emerging, nationally, and internationally recognized artists.
Founded in 1977, The Fabric Workshop and Museum has developed from an ambitious experiment to a renowned institution with a widely-recognized Artist in Residence Program, an extensive permanent collection of new work created by artists at the Workshop, in-house and touring exhibitions, and comprehensive educational programming including lectures, tours, in-school presentations and student apprenticeships.

The Fabric Workshop and Museum
1214 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-0922
[T] 215.561.8888
[F] 215.561.8887
[email protected]

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