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.
2007 – 2010
Master of Fine Arts in Photography, Emphasis in Visual Studies; University of California, Irvine
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
Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA / Jonas N.T. Becker: Westward BoundThe Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA / The Pile
Shulamit Gallery, Los Angeles, CA / Zol Zayn / What if?
5118 York, Los Angeles, CA / 2012102: Apocalypse Now?
Autonomie Gallery, Los Angeles, CA / Erasing Traces CommonSpace Gallery, Los Angeles, CA / New Work: Nina T. Becker.
Room Gallery, Irvine, CA / Aninut (72 Hours) Monongalia Art Center, Benedum Gallery, Morgantown, WV / Thank G-d for Mississippi.
European Graduate School Gallery, Sass-Fee, Switzerland / Huts
Terminal Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA / Fellows
Selected Group Exhibitions and Screenings
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.
Part-time Gallery, Los Angeles, CA / Poor/Fancy, pt. 2 Hebrew Union College Art Gallery, Los Angeles, CA ThreadsThat Bind.
LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions), Los Angeles, CA / ReVisions of LA: Mobile Projections LA Road Project, Los Angeles, CA / Mulholland Dérive.
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.
LAXART, Los Angeles, CA / Nine Stories.
Lycium Gallery, San Diego, CA / The Art of Photography, curated by Charlotte CottonUC Irvine Visual Studies Conference / Birth/Day: Origins, Temporality, Hybridity.
University Art Gallery, Irvine, CA / Betamax.
2016 – 2019
Lucas Artists Residency Fellowship at Montalvo Art Center, Saratoga, CA [upcoming].
Heart of Los Angeles Artist Residency, Los Angeles, CA [upcoming].
Sass-Fee Summer Art Institute hosted by the European Graduate School, Sass-Fee, Switzerland2012 – 2014 Silverlake JCC Artist in Residence, Los Angeles, CA.
Klezkanada Filmaking Residency, Lantier, Quebec, Canada
Selected Awards, Grants and Fellowships
Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation Exhibition Grant.
Nazarian Family Foundation Finishing Grant.
2011 – 2013
Six Points Fellowship Two Year Artist Stipend and Project Grant.
Artist Bailout Project Grant.
Claire Trevor School of the Arts Exhibition Grant.
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
Artillery Magazine, “Guest Lecture: Jonas N.T. Becker,” January Edition, 2015 [upcoming].
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.
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.
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.
Good Magazine, “Community Arts Organizations Get Their Bailout Money,” December 12, 2011.
Research and curatorial Projects
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.
LACMA: New Topographics, created an interactive map locating exhibited photographs in the U.S.
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.
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.
University of California, Irvine, CA – InstructorIntroduction to Photography.