In the fall of 2013, the CCA Wattis Institute launched “Joan Jonas is on our mind,” the first in an ongoing series of year-long “research seasons” dedicated to one artist. “How does this single artist’s work,” The Wattis asks, “speak to broader questions about art, culture, and society today?” In this conversation, Wattis Director and Chief Curator Anthony Huberman discusses this initiative and its public programs, performance, and publications – and how it pointedly eschews exhibitions. Huberman is joined in conversation with other key members of the Joan Jonas season, including poet Frances Richard, art historian Jacqueline Francis, and artist Jeanne Finlay to reflect both on this program model and the resonance of Jonas’ work for art-making today.
This conversation is co-sponsored by the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture and held on the occasion of Joan Jonas’ They Come to Us without a Word exhibition, currently on view at FMCAC until March 10.
Anthony Huberman is the Director and Chief Curator of CCA Wattis Institute. The Founding Director of The Artist’s Institute in New York, he has also served as Chief Curator of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Curator at the Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Curator at SculptureCenter (New York), and Director of Education and Public Programs at MoMA PS1. He has curated solo exhibitions with artists such as Laura Owens, Sam Lewitt, Lutz Bacher, and Richard Artschwager, and has developed long-term research projects with artists such as Seth Price, David Hammons, and Joan Jonas. He co-curated the 2014 Liverpool Biennial and has published in Artforum, Frieze, Flash Art, Afterall, and Mousse. His Today We Should Be Thinking About was published by Koenig Books in 2016.
Jeanne C. Finley works in film, video, photography, installation, and socially engaged work to create hybrid documentary and expanded cinema projects. Her work has been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum, and the George Pompidou Center, among others. Finley's most recent project, Journeys Beyond the Cosmodrome is a multi-platform work created in collaboration with 16 teenagers graduating out of Kazakhstan’s Akkol Orphanage. The full-length film and book will be released in spring of 2019.
Jacqueline Francis is the author of Making Race: Modernism and “Racial Art” in America (2012) and co-editor of Romare Bearden: American Modernist (2011). With Mary Ann Calo, Francis is working on a new book about African-American artists’ participation in federally funded art programs of the 1930s and their impact on the emergent, US art market of the 1940s. Recently, she has published articles on Olivia Mole, Joan Jonas, Andrea Fraser, and (with Tina Takemoto) David Hammons. Forthcoming essays address Romare Bearden (The Museum of Modern Art), Mickalane Thomas (Seattle Art Museum), and Kerry James Marshall (Kunst und Politik, Jahrbuck der Guernica-Gesellschaft). Francis is the Chair of the Graduate Visual and Critical Studies Program at CCA and holds a doctorate from Emory University.
Frances Richard is the author of Anarch. (Futurepoem, 2012), The Phonemes (Les Figues Press, 2012) and See Through (Four Way Books, 2003), as well as the chapbooks Shaved Code (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2008) and Anarch. (Woodland Editions, 2008). She writes frequently about contemporary art and is co-author, with Jeffrey Kastner and Sina Najafi, of Odd Lots: Revisiting Gordon Matta-Clark’s “Fake Estates” (Cabinet Books, 2005). Her writing on visual art has appeared in Artforum, The Nation, BOMB, and exhibition catalogs from the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and Independent Curators International, among others. She taught for eleven years at Barnard College and for seven at the Rhode Island School of Design; currently she teaches at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco as well as at SFAI.
Image: Joan Jonas, Moving Off the Land, performance view. Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, January 19, 2019. Photo by Justin Oliphant.