Jonas N.T. Becker

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Artist Statement

My photography and video installations explore the formation of cultural mythologies around specific sites and geography, collapsing what we see with what we hope or believe. I work across mediums and intersect physical, cinematic, and social space to disrupt these myths. My work exposes their contingency and creates the possibility of queer reordering and reconstruction.

My process is research-based and formally invested in the relationship between sculpture and video. Often, I collaborate with others to intermix disciplinary languages, and use collective input to generate content. One recent project, Almost Always, recontextualizes Cold War-era hopes and anxieties embedded in a 1950s Popular Science article proposing that if a person flew west one timezone per hour, they could achieve immortality. Using crowdsourced footage, the installation arrests the moment before New Year in all 24 timezones, exploring how our understanding of time is politically constructed to regulate feelings of hope and anxiety. Another installation, The Pile, translates collectively-sourced desires into handcrafted symbolic objects. A narrative video weaves a mythological story of their creation, denaturalizing the way desire operates within contemporary capitalism.

My current work-in-progress, Same Rock, is based on the story of a “little Switzerland” in Appalachia, founded on the promise of its similarity to the Alps. One element of the installation is a design proposal to project holographic Alpine peaks in place of Appalachian mountains destroyed by mining. Another explores the symbolic relationship between landscape and language. The project address myths of universality, aesthetic deception, and the politics and economics of mountains.

CV

Education

2007 – 2010

Master of Fine Arts in Photography, Emphasis in Visual Studies; University of California, Irvine

Thesis: “Photographing the Invisible: The Absent Subject and Otherwise Impossible Sites of Experience”
2006 – 2007

Coro Fellowship in Public Policy, Art & Public Policy Focus; Coro Center for Civic Leadership in partnership

with Carnegie Mellon University

2000 – 2004

Bachelor of Arts in Architecture and Urbanism; Smith College, Cum Laude

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2015

Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA / Jonas N.T. Becker: Westward BoundThe Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA / The Pile

2014

Shulamit Gallery, Los Angeles, CA / Zol Zayn /  What if?

2012

5118 York, Los Angeles, CA / 2012102: Apocalypse Now?

2011

Autonomie Gallery, Los Angeles, CA / Erasing Traces CommonSpace Gallery, Los Angeles, CA / New Work: Nina T. Becker.

2010

Room Gallery, Irvine, CA / Aninut (72 Hours) Monongalia Art Center, Benedum Gallery, Morgantown, WV / Thank G-d for Mississippi.

2008

European Graduate School Gallery, Sass-Fee, Switzerland / Huts

2006

Terminal Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA / Fellows

Selected Group Exhibitions and Screenings

2015

Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, CA / Incognito LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), Los Angeles, CA / HappeningLos Angeles Times Festival of Books, Solo PresentationSilicone Valley Contemporary, Solo Presentation / Moving Image Experience curated by Paul Young.

2014

Part-time Gallery, Los Angeles, CA / Poor/Fancy, pt. 2 Hebrew Union College Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA ThreadsThat Bind.

2012

LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), Los Angeles, CA / ReVisions of LA: Mobile Projections LA Road Project, Los Angeles, CA / Mulholland Dérive.

2011

1708 Gallery, Richmond, VA / InLight 2011, curated by Matthew Lyons of The Kitchen L.A. Art Mart, Los Angeles, CA / VertigoFoundation for Art Resources (FAR), Long Beach, CA / The De-socialized  Landscape.

2010

LAXART, Los Angeles, CA / Nine Stories.

2009

Lycium Gallery, San Diego, CA / The Art of Photography, curated by Charlotte CottonUC Irvine Visual Studies Conference / Birth/Day: Origins, Temporality, Hybridity.

2008

University Art Gallery, Irvine, CA / Betamax.

Residencies

2016 – 2019

Lucas Artists Residency Fellowship at Montalvo Art Center, Saratoga, CA  [upcoming].

2016

Heart of Los Angeles Artist Residency, Los Angeles, CA  [upcoming].

2015

Sass-Fee Summer Art Institute hosted by the European Graduate School, Sass-Fee, Switzerland2012 – 2014 Silverlake JCC Artist in Residence, Los Angeles, CA.

2010

Klezkanada Filmaking Residency, Lantier, Quebec, Canada

Selected Awards, Grants and Fellowships

2014

Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation Exhibition Grant.

2013

Nazarian Family Foundation Finishing Grant.

2011 – 2013

Six Points Fellowship Two Year Artist Stipend and Project Grant.

2011

Artist Bailout Project Grant.

2009

Claire Trevor School of the Arts Exhibition Grant.

2008

The Center for Global Peace Studies Project GrantMedici Scholars Summer Research GrantStudio Art Department Travel Grant, UC Irvine.

2007 – 2011

Full Tuition Merit Scholarship and Stipend, UC Irvine.

Selected Publications and Press 

2016

Artillery Magazine, “Guest Lecture: Jonas N.T. Becker,” January Edition, 2015  [upcoming].

2015

Art Ltd., “A Patchwork Quilt,” March 2015 KCRW (NPR): Art Talk, “Man Made Quilts and Jonas Becker,” February 12, 2015LA Weekly, “Art Picks: Five Free Art Shows You Should See in L.A. This Week,” February 4, 2015LA Times, “Datebook: Vintage Car Design, Objects of Desire, Flight of the Bumblebee,” January 22, 2015.

2014

LA Times, “Shulamit Gallery Shows Jonas N.T. Becker Debut,” February 9, 2014Artillery Magazine, “Jonas N.T. Becker at Shulamit Gallery,” January 29, 2014Jewish Journal, “Time is of the Essence in ‘Zol Zayn’ Exhibition,” February 26, 2014 The Yiddish Daily Forward, “News from Los Angeles,” January 22, 2014KCRW (NPR): Which Way, LA?, “A Video Meditation on One of Life’s Big Questions,” January 10, 2014.

2012

LA Weekly, “Art Picks: Five Artsy Things to Do This Week,” December 19, 2012 KCRW (NPR): All Things Considered, “Get Onboard the Mobile Pinhole Project,” May 31, 2012.

2011

Good Magazine, “Community Arts Organizations Get Their Bailout Money,” December 12, 2011.

Research and curatorial Projects

2016

OnCurating, Zurich, Switzerland – Guest Editor, Issue 27 [upcoming]OnCurating is a print and online journal on curatorial practice and theory.

2011 – present

Mobile Pinhole Project, Los Angeles, CA – Founding Director and Lead Instructor The Mobile Pinhole Project brings experiential  photography workshops to youth in neighborhoods acrossLos Angeles using a van turned into a giant pinhole camera—allowing youth literally inside the camera.

2009

LACMA: New Topographics, created an interactive map locating exhibited photographs in the U.S.

2008

View Source Labs, Founding Member: A cross-disciplinary research lab focusing on authorship.Everywhere Gallery, Founder and Curator: A participatory exhibition space viewed via mobile devices.

Teaching Experience

2015 – 2016

University of California, Los Angeles Center for the Art of Performance – Teaching Artist Fellow.

2012 – present

Art Institute, North Hollywood & Art Institute, Los Angeles, CA – Adjunct Faculty Photography, Video, and Art Theory & Criticism2013 Scripps College, Claremont, CA – Adjunct Faculty Introduction to Black & White Photography

2011 – 2013

ArtworxLA, Los Angeles, CA – Teaching Artist & Curriculum DesignVisual Mapping Course; Re-Designing New Spaces for Exhibition Course.

2011 – 2012

Hollywood Media Arts Academy High School, Los Angeles, CA – Instructor Video, Photography, and Art History.

2010

University of California, Irvine, CA – InstructorIntroduction to Photography.