Purple Art

[April 2 2024]

“Good Night Good Morning” a retrospective of performance and video artist Joan Jonas at MoMA, on view until July 6th 2024

Good Night Good Morning, a major retrospective of the pioneering performance and video artist Joan Jonas, is a deep dive into the artist’s prolific career spanning nearly five decades. Combining sound, movement, poetry, and video projections to create total worlds, Jonas’s works are time-based explorations of the nature of perception and the relationships between humans and landscape, performer and audience. In addition to remastered footage of her performances, the show presents artifacts, as it were, of Jonas’s ephemeral oeuvre, with notebooks, sketchbooks, props and other objects comprising its multifaceted lining.

Inspired by myths, spirituality, technology, literature and folklore, Jonas traces elements of cosmological time through the decades and centuries. Looking at her work, there is a sense of alchemical forces at play; the world becomes source material and canvas for the active creation of experience. Observation and documentation become creative acts — a way of categorizing signs and meanings and experiencing different things at the same time in the ghostliness of suspended time.

There is a ritualistic aspect to Jonas’s work, one that is achieved through the repetition of gestural movements and images, such as the strange figures in mirror costumes and masks moving stiffly across a landscape. She frequently uses mirrors to fragment perception, creating new configurations out of familiar parts. Mirrors become connections not only to the surrounding space – a conduit to and from the artist – but to the audience itself, which in every instance is a stand-in and a microcosm of culture writ large. In an increasingly fragmented world this becomes a metaphor, leading to questions of how we show up, engage, participate, act and be acted upon in the world.

On view until July 6th, 2024.

The Museum of Modern Art

11 W 53rd Street

New York, NY 10019


Text by Anfisa Vrubel

Images courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

Subscribe to our newsletter