Apr 2, 2014, 6:30PM

Joan Jonas, Vishal Jugdeo and David Dempewolf in Conversation / Joan Jonas/Stage Sets (1976)


This intergenerational conversation brought together pioneering video and performance artist Joan Jonas; Vishal Jugdeo, whose work was on view in the galleries as part of ICA@50; and David Dempewolf, artist and co-founder of Marginal Utility gallery, who has assisted and collaborated with Jonas for many years. Jonas discussed her 1976 commissioned children’s program at ICA, The Juniper Tree (1976), which she wrote with poet Susan Howe based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, and described how her reading of Bruno Bettelheim’s just-published book, The Uses of Enchantment, helped her allay the fears of parents who felt her program would be too violent. Jugdeo reminded the audience—the make up of which reflected the intergenerational nature of the panel—how the permission today’s artists feel to use video, props, and screens came directly from Jonas’s boundary pushing. Dempewolf recounted how being part Jonas’s team provided the warm, familial model used by Marginal Utility, the non-profit gallery he founded with his wife, Yuka Yokoyama. Clips of documentary filmmaker Michael Blackwood’s Joan Jonas: Reanimation offered a peek at Jonas’s working style (and showed Dempewolf assisting), while images from ICA’s 1976–77 exhibition, Joan Jonas/Stage Sets—including one of Jonas perched on top of a television—gave a sense of her art. Jonas, who had recently learned of her selection to represent the United States at the 2015 Venice Biennale, shared her love for the rough aesthetics of early video, which she described as having a kinship with drawing on paper. Moderated by ICA Program Curator Alex Klein, this event was part of the Sachs Program in Contemporary Art: Intergenerational Conversations.
Joan Jonas/Stage SetsICA@50: Pleasing Artists And Publics Since 1963Vishal Jugdeo: An Education in the Logic of the Leaves / Joan Jonas/Stage Sets (1976)ICA@50Sachs Program in Contemporary Art: Intergenerational Conversations