Artist Joan Jonas ’58 to Speak

Photo of Joan Jonas ’58 by Moira Ricci

Internationally-acclaimed artist Joan Jonas '58 will discuss her work in a free public lecture titled ”60 Years Later.”  Reception to follow.

As Mount Holyoke’s 2018-2019 Leading Woman in the Arts, Jonas will facilitate a leadership and careers luncheon with students, attend an advanced studio art class, and meet with the student participants in her January 2019 performance at the College. Jonas is also the subject of a focused exhibition at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, “Promise of the Infinite: Joan Jonas and the Mirror,” on view through June 16, 2019.

The Leading Women in the Arts series was launched in 2006, and is organized collaboratively by Mount Holyoke’s Weissman Center for Leadership and the InterArts Council, comprised of creative and performing arts faculty. The program reflects the Center's support of short-term residencies by internationally acclaimed artists, writers, and practitioners whose influential careers provide inspiration for a new generation of students. Invited guest artists are featured in public discussions about the interconnections between creative expression of all forms and cultural transformations.

“It is an absolute privilege to have Joan Jonas '58 return to Mount Holyoke to be our ‘Leading Woman in the Arts’ this year,” says Amy Martin, Director of the Weissman Center. “She is a model for our students and for our entire community, demonstrating to us how being visionary and innovative makes one a transformative leader in one's field.

Past Leading Women in the Arts have included choreographer Trisha Brown, composers Meredith Monk and Kaija Saariaho, visual artists Ann Hamilton and Carrie Mae Weems, architect Billie Tsien, and writer and poet Claudia Rankine, among others.

Jonas is the first alumna in the program’s 12-year history.

Sponsored by the Weissman Center for Leadership and the InterArts Council.

Joan Jonas ’58

Over the last half-century, Jonas has experimented with new forms of artistic expression, blending video, sound, sculpture, drawing, and performance to create immersive viewer experiences that explore ways of seeing. Born in New York in 1936, she received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke before attending the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Columbia University, where she earned an M.F.A. in Sculpture in 1965. Jonas has performed and exhibited her work internationally since the late 1960s. Tireless in her creativity into her eighties, Jonas has received significant recognition in recent years with major traveling exhibitions in 2014 and 2018, organized by HangarBicocca, Milan and Tate Modern, London respectively. In 2015, she represented the United States at the Venice Biennale, and this year she was selected as a Kyoto Prize laureate, Japan’s highest private award for global achievement. A hero and mentor to a younger generation of artists, she is professor emerita at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Jonas, who splits her time between New York and Nova Scotia, last visited Mount Holyoke in May 2016, when she received an honorary doctorate of fine arts.