11th Annual Aurora Award
Aurora Picture Show honors pioneering performance artist Joan Jonas
Acclaimed artist Joan Jonas joined the ranks of Laurie Anderson, Mirandy July, and William Wegman as recipient of the 11th annual Aurora Award, presented by the Aurora Picture Show at a special ceremony Thursday evening.
An essential figure in American post-war art, Jonas is recognized as one of the most crucial female artists to emerge from the New York scene of the late 1960s.
Now a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Jonas has produced nearly five decades of groundbreaking work — fusing performance, drawing, sculpture, and painting into pieces shown in major museums around the world.
Each year, Aurora Picture Show selects a Texas artist to create an artwork meant to symbolize the Aurora Award, which honors innovative accomplishments in the fields of media and multimedia art. Houston-based artist Elaine Bradford designed this year's piece, a mounted "trophy deer" head covered in colorful crocheted yarn. Bradford presented the award in a ceremony after a brief speech and reading from Jonas.
"Joan was an interdisiplinary artist before there was a term for it," said Aurora curator Mary Magsamen at the presentation.
Projected onto a large screen in the corner of the room was the artist's classic piece Mirage, a collage of dancers on the street in lower Manhattan layered with footage of Jonas' hands drawing on a chalkboard.
Now a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Jonas has produced nearly five decades of groundbreaking work — fusing performance, drawing, sculpture, and painting into pieces shown in major museums around the world. She received the Guggenheim Foundation’s first annual Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
Held at the home of Jim McAlister, Jr. in Memorial, Thurday night's ceremony dinner brought an array of local art leaders and supportors: Houston Art Alliance honorees Victoria and Marshal Lightman, director Bill Arning and curator Dean Daderko from Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Blaffer Art Museum director Claudia Schmuckli, to name only a few of the evening's 100-plus guests.