PLAN 88: Article
Joan Jonas to Represent US at Venice Biennale

Most Recent of Many SA+P Artists and Architects in Venice

Joan Jonas, Professor Emerita with SA+P’s Program in Art, Culture and Technology, was chosen to represent the United States at the 56th Venice Biennale, the world’s most prestigious contemporary art event.  She is the second artist from SA+P to represent the US at the Biennale and one of several others from SA+P who have represented their countries of origin and/or curated exhibits there.

A pioneering figure in performance art and video, and one of the most important contemporary artists today, Jonas explores ways of seeing, the rhythms of ritual and the authority of objects and gestures. For the five galleries of the US Pavilion, she has created new, interrelated, site-responsive installations incorporating video, drawings, objects and sound. She has shot all the video, created the sculptural and drawn elements, written the script and designed the soundtrack.  (For more detail, visit

The US Pavilion for 2015 is curated by Ute Meta Bauer, founding director of SA+P’s Program in Art, Culture and Technology – now director of the Centre for Contemporary Art at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore – and by Paul Ha, director of the MIT List Visual Arts Center, who also serves as commissioner for the project. Jonas’ exhibition will be the third project presented by the List Center at the Venice Biennale, including Fred Wilson: Speak of Me as I Am (2003) and Ann Hamilton: Myein (1999).

In 2011, SA+P alum Jennifer Allora (SMVisS’03) represented the US with her partner Guillermo Calzadilla.  Faculty representing their country of origin in Venice include Krzysztof Wodiczko representing Poland in 2009; Gediminas Urbonas with his partner Nomeda Urbonas, representing Lithuania in 2007 (singled out for honorable mention); Antoni Muntadas representing Spain in 2005; and Otto Piene representing Germany in 1971 and 1967.

In 2005, Yung Ho Chang designed a prominent bamboo refuge for China’s first official pavilion and in 2003 Ute Meta Bauer served as commissioner for the Nordic Pavilion (Finland, Norway and Sweden).

At last year’s Venice Biennale in Architecture, a global event of similar stature that alternates years with the art biennale, Professor Ana Miljacki was one of three co-curators for the US Pavilion, alumna Alia Farid (SMVisS’08) was curator of the Kuwait Pavilion and SA+P’s Senseable City Lab  presented Local Warming, a thesis project by SMACT candidate Leigh Christie. In 2012, Professor Anton Garcia-Abril curated the Spanish Pavilion and in 2006 SA+P exhibited several projects there dealing with digital technology and the urban environment.

The Venice Biennale (La Biennale di Venezia) 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 Biennale Archiettura debuted in 1980.