Fuse News: Venice Biennale Honors MIT List Visual Art Center and Artist Joan Jonas

By Peter Walsh

Performance and video artist Joan Jonas

Performance and video artist Joan Jonas

Established in 1895 as a kind of World’s Fair for contemporary art and decorative arts, the Venice Biennale has grown into one of the world’s largest, most important, and most glamorous art events. Held on odd years nowadays and sprawling throughout the city, the Biennale still centers on a Venice park, the Giardini, and its collection of 30 permanent national pavilions.

The neo-Federal United States Pavilion, built in 1930, looks quite a lot like Monticello. Its five galleries have shown off some of the leading figures in American art: Edward Hopper, Henry Tanner, Willem de Kooning, Red Grooms, Claes Oldenberg, Helen Frankenthaler, Diane Arbus, Andy Warhol, Christo, Agnes Martin, Laurie Anderson, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Jackson Pollock, Jenny Holtzer, Louise Bourgeois, Hans Hofmann, and a host of others.

Now owned by the Guggenheim Foundation, the U.S. Pavilion has, since 1986, featured a single American artist selected from those proposed by museums curators from across the United States to the National Endowment for the Arts Federal Advisory Committee on International Exhibitions (FACIE). For the 56th Biennale in 2015, the committee has chosen MIT List Visual Art Center’s vision for the U.S. Pavilion. List curators Uta Meta Bauer and Paul C. Ha will present the work of the performance and video artist Joan Jonas, who will create an installation with video, drawings, objects, and sound.

For both artist and curators, this is one of the great honors of the American art world. Congratulations are due all around.

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