Joan Jonas – Danspace Project


Joan Jonas
Artist Talk & Book Signing

with with Joan Jonas, Ute Meta Bauer, Eva Ebersberger, David Gruber, and Judy Hussie-Taylor

Thursday, April 4 | 7:30PM
An evening with artist Joan Jonas, dedicated to her major work Moving Off the Land, commissioned by TBA21–Academy, which had its US premiere at Danspace Project in 2018.

This conversation will explore the genesis of Moving Off the Land, the research at its heart, and the way the artist conjured an aquatic universe of nonhuman creatures, mythological figures and real characters that is informed by stories of beauty and ecological urgency. The speakers will also revisit Jonas’s iconic performance of Moving Off the Land.
Born in 1936 in New York, Joan Jonas is an acclaimed video and multimedia performance artist. She received a BA in Art History and Sculpture from Mount Holyoke College in 1958 and an MFA from Columbia University in 1965. In works that examined space and perceptual phenomena, her work merges elements of dance, modern theater, the conventions of Japanese Noh and Kabuki theater, and the visual arts. Jonas has exhibited and performed extensively around the world. Her notable exhibition history includes Documenta 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, and 13; the 28th Sao Paolo Biennial; the 5th Kochi-Muziris Biennale; and the 13th Shanghai Biennale. She has recently presented solo exhibitions at the United States Pavilion for the 56th Edition of the Venice Biennial; Tate Modern, London; Museu Serralves, Porto; Pinacoteca de São Paulo; Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid; Dia Beacon; and the Haus der Kunst, Munich. Her retrospective “Joan Jonas: Good Night Good Morning,” curated by Ana Janevski, at The Museum of Modern Art in New York is currently on view until July 6. A retrospective dedictaed to her works on paper “Animal, Vegetabal, Mineral,” organized by Laura Hoptman, at The Drawing center is currently on view until June 2. Jonas is the recipient of many awards including The Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon (2016); the Maya Deren Award given by the American Film Institute (1989); and the Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (2009). In 2018, she was awarded the prestigious Kyoto Prize, presented to those individuals who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural and spiritual betterment of mankind.

Ute Meta Bauer was born in Germany and studied visual communication, stage design and art theory at Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg. Bauer is also an editor, professor, curator and, since 2013, she became the Founding Director of the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore, a national research centre of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). As professor at the NTU School of Art, Design and Media she co-chairs the Master’s in Museum Studies and Curatorial Practices, and her recent research projects focus on the link between cultural loss and the climate crisis. She is the artistic director of the 2nd Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale titled “After the Rain,” which opened in Feburary 2024 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Over the course of her decades’ long career, Bauer has held leadership positions in cultural and academic institutions including Artistic Director of Künstlerhaus Stuttgart (1990–1994); Professor of Theory, Practice and Communication of Contemporary Art and Vice Rector International Affairs at the Academy of fine Art Vienna (1996–2006); Founding Director of the Office for Contemporary Art Norway in Oslo (2002–2005) and Dean of the School of Fine Art, Royal College of Art, London (2012/2013). At Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Bauer served as Director of the Visual Art Program (2005–2009) and as Founding Director of ACT, MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology (2009–2012). Most recently she curated the Singapore Pavilion at the 59th Venice Art Biennale featuring Shubigi Rao: Pulp III: A Short Biography of the Banished Book and was a curator of the 17th Istanbul Biennale alongside David Teh and Amar Kanwar. Bauer was a co-curator of Documenta11 (2002) on the team of artistic director Okwui Enwezor and served as artistic director for the 3rd Berlin Biennale for contemporary art (2004). She was a co-curator with Paul C. Ha of the US Pavilion of the 56th Venice Art Biennale (2015) featuring artist Joan Jonas for which they received honorary mention for best National Pavilion.

Eva Ebersberger is Head of Publications at TBA21 in Vienna. She has edited and coedited numerous publications and has shaped the foundations publications program since the beginning.

David Gruber is the Founder & President of Project CETI, a interdisciplinary scientific and conservation initiative that is listening to and translating the communication of sperm whales in Dominica. He is Distinguished Professor of Biology at the City University of New York. His interdisciplinary research bridges animal communication, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology and his inventions include technology to perceive the underwater world from the perspective of marine animals. Gruber holds the Lagrange Prize in complex systems science for his advancements “focused on the conservation of biodiversity, protection of resources and the safeguarding of ecosystems.” David has been in longstanding discourse with Joan Jonas that spans Moving Off the Land II (2019) and To Touch Sound (2024). David co-curated “Who Speaks for the Oceans?” at the Mishkin Gallery (2022) and Tarble Arts Center (2023).

Since taking the helm at Danspace Project in 2008, Judy Hussie-Taylor (Executive Director & Chief Curator) has developed a critically-acclaimed programs including the PLATFORM series featuring new contexts for performing arts presenting, a print and online publication program, and a series of research programs to complement Danspace’s presenting series. She was a founding Advisor and Faculty member for the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University (2011-2021). During her career she has curated and collaborated with leading contemporary dance and performance artists including Kyle Abraham, Simone Forti, Ishmael Houston-Jones, Joan Jonas, Ralph Lemon,  Meredith Monk, Eiko Otake, Okwui Okpokwasili, Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer, Cecilia Vicuna, and Anne Waldman. She has served on numerous national grants panels and given talks and lectures at Yale University, Walker Art Center, Pew Center for Arts and Heritage and Berkeley’s Arts Research Center. She received a Bessie Award  for performance curation in 2016 and a Chevalier D’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres from the French Government in 2014. 

TBA21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary is a leading international art and advocacy foundation created in 2002 by the philanthropist and collector Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, representing the fourth generation of the Thyssen family’s commitment to the arts and public service. The foundation stewards the TBA21 Collection and its outreach activities, which include exhibitions as well as educational and public programming. TBA21 is based in Madrid, where it works in association with Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza and has its other important poles of action in Venice and Jamaica. All activity at TBA21 is fundamentally driven by artists and the belief in art and culture as a carrier of social and environmental transformation and ultimately in the service of global peace-building. TBA21–Academy is the foundation’s research arm, fostering a deeper relationship with the Ocean and other bodies of water by working as an incubator for collaborative inquiry, artistic production, and environmental advocacy. For more than a decade, the Academy has catalyzed new forms of knowledge emerging from the exchanges between art, science, policy, and conservation in long-term and collaborative engagement through fellowships, residency programs and activities in a wide variety of formats.
Joan Jonas: Moving Off the Land
Edited by Ute Meta Bauer
Introductions by Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, Markus Reymann, and Ute Meta Bauer. 
Performance script by Joan Jonas.
With a conversation between Joan Jonas, Ute Meta Bauer and Stefanie Hessler.
Co-published by TBA21–Academy and Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König.
More information & to purchase:
Danspace Project pays respect to Lenape peoples. We acknowledge that this work is situated on the Lenape island of Manhattan (Mannahatta) in Lenapehoking, the Lenape homeland. We pay respect to Lenape land, water, and ancestors past, present and future.


Danspace Project presents new work in dance, supports a diverse range of choreographers in developing their work, encourages experimentation, and connects artists to audiences.

For 50 years, Danspace Project has supported a vital community of contemporary dance artists in an environment unlike any other in the United States. Located in the historic St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, Danspace shares its facility with the Church, The Poetry Project, and New York Theatre Ballet. Danspace Project’s Commissioning Initiative has commissioned nearly 600 new works since its inception in 1994.

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