Joan Jonas: Five Works 1976–2003, curated by Valerie Smith, Queens Museum, New York, December 14, 2003–March 28, 2004
Joan Jonas: Five Works opened in 2003 as the first in-depth exhibition of the artist’s work in a New York museum. Following retrospectives at two major European institutions—the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1994) and the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart (2000)—the Queens Museum sought to introduce New Yorkers to Jonas’s performances, installations, and video works for the first time. Rather than attempting a comprehensive retrospective, the exhibition, curated by the museum’s Director of Exhibitions, Valerie Smith, centered around five major works selected by the artist. Each of these works represented a major period of the artist’s oeuvre, providing context around Jonas’s practice as a whole and aiming to make her conceptual frameworks for performance installation accessible to uninitiated viewers. The exhibition included Organic Honey’s Visual Telepathy/Organic Honey’s Vertical Roll (1972/1994), The Juniper Tree (1976/1994), Volcano Saga (1985–89), Lines in the Sand (2002), which was originally commissioned for Documenta 11, and Revolted by the thought of known places…Sweeney Astray (1994), for which photographs, drawings, and single-channel videos were also presented. The installation for this piece was organized with close collaboration with Dorine Mignot, curator of the Stedelijk Museum. In addition to these five central works, the exhibition also included Wind (1968), Mirror Piece (1969) (the display for which featured original footage that had previously never been shown to the public), Songdelay (1973), and My New Theater I (1997), among others.
Two performance events took place in conjunction with Joan Jonas: Five Works. Lines in the Sand, one of Jonas’s most recent works at the time, was performed by the artist at The Kitchen February 19 to 21, 2004, in cooperation with the Queens Museum. The exhibition’s host institution also presented “Joan Jonas: An Improvisation” on March 20, 2004.
The catalogue for Joan Jonas: Five Works included a conversation with the artist, Susan Howe, and Jeanne Heuving, as well as essays by Carlos Amorales, Barbara Clausen, Sung Hwan Kim, Astrid S. Klein, John Miller, Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky), Valerie Smith, and Marina Warner.
The exhibition received two reviews by the New York Times, including “Joan Jonas: All over the Map” by Michael Kimmelman on September 7, 2003, and “An Artist’s Span, Austere to Extravagant” by Roberta Smith on December 19, 2003. In 2005, the exhibition won the first place award for Best Exhibition on Time Based Art from the International Association of Art Critics. While Joan Jonas: Five Works was originally scheduled from December 14, 2003 to March 14, 2004, it was later extended until March 28.
See Exhibition Materials, Catalogue, Press Materials, Floor Plans, Interviews, and Bibliography for further reading.
- Exhibition brochure with artwork descriptions, Joan Jonas: Five Works 1976–2003, Queens Museum, New York. Courtesy of the Queens Museum.
- Checklist, Joan Jonas: Five Works 1976–2003, Queens Museum, New York. Courtesy of the Queens Museum.
- Inventory, Joan Jonas: Five Works 1976–2003, Queens Museum, New York, August 6, 2003. Courtesy of the Queens Museum.
- Checklist of objects to return to Jonas, Joan Jonas: Five Works 1976–2003, Queens Museum, New York, April 1, 2004. Courtesy of the Queens Museum.
- Building list, Joan Jonas: Five Works 1976–2003, Queens Museum, New York, October 27, 2003. Courtesy of the Queens Museum.
Valerie Smith, ed. Joan Jonas: Five Works. New York: Queens Museum, 2003. Texts by Barbara Clausen, Tom Finkelpearl, Jeanne Heuving, Susan Howe, Joan Jonas, Sung Hwan Kim, Astrid Klein, John Miller, Paul D. Miller, Valerie Smith, and Marina Warner.
- Press release, Joan Jonas: Five Works 1976–2003, Queens Museum, New York. Courtesy of the Queens Museum.
- Invitation card for Joan Jonas, An Improvisation, March 30, 2004, in conjunction with Joan Jonas: Five Works 1976–2003, Queens Museum, New York. Courtesy of the Queens Museum.
Curator: Valerie Smith
Museum Interns: Julia Newall, Guillaume Ballandonne, Julia Perratore
Registrar: Hsu-Han Shang
Head Preparator: Arnold Kanarvogel
Carpentry: Doug Matlaga
Sound: Neil Benezra
- Joan Jonas, An Improvisation, March 30, 2004
Invitation card for Joan Jonas, An Improvisation, March 30, 2004, in conjunction with Joan Jonas: Five Works 1976–2003, Queens Museum, New York. Courtesy of the Queens Museum.
- Joan Jonas, Lines in the Sand, The Kitchen, New York, February 19 to 21, 2004
- Interview with Neil Benezra (composer and sound designer for film, museum, gallery, and theater), September 2020
- Interview with Lynne Cooke (Senior Curator for Special Projects at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC), March 2020
- Interview with Douglas Crimp (art historian, critic and curator in the fields of postmodern theory and art, dance, film, queer, and feminist theory), March 2019
- Interview with Constance DeJong (artist, writer, performer, and professor of art and time-based media at Hunter College, New York), December 2019
- Interview with Simone Forti (American-Italian artist, choreographer, dancer, and writer), December 2020
- Interview with Joan Simon (independent curator and writer based in Paris), January 2021
- Interview with Valerie Smith (freelance curator and writer based in Berlin), March 2020
- Interview with Stephen Vitiello (American visual and sound artist, formerly Director of Distribution at Electronic Arts Intermix from 1988–2000), December 2019