Beginning March 22 and extending to June 30, the Contemporary Art Museum of Houston will display the work of two important female artists of the 20th century in Parallel Practices: Joan Jonas and Gina Pane. Showing selected works from the artists’ entire careers, the exhibition is held in a single space with professional commentary accompanying each collection. Similarities and differences between Jonas and Pane are thus accentuated so the viewer may understand how these artists’ careers stand apart and intersect. Along with experimenting in mediums that, at the time, were undeveloped, the two inventors helped spur movements within the art community that brought attention to female artists at large. C.A.M.H. honors these women for the impact they had on modern art as both artists and feminists.
Joan Jonas was born in 1936 in New York City. Jonas is best known for her experimental performances documented on video tape. In 1970, while visiting Japan, Jonas picked up a Sony PortaPak video recorder. At the time, video recording had yet to be popularized in America. Shortly after arriving back in the States, Jonas began using the Sony PortaPak to record different performance pieces. The new technology added a fresh, visual element to her early works, such as Glass Puzzle (1973) and Good Night Morning (1976). C.A.M.H. will feature Jonas’s most recent video performance, Reading Dante III.
Gina Pane, born in Biarritz, France in 1939, was a performance artist known for pieces in which she self mutilated and interacted with grotesque visuals. To make her work relatable to viewers, Pane constructed elaborate conceptual contexts for her abrasive and extreme performances. In her most famous performance The Conditioning (1973), Pane laid on a metal surface, heated by a row of lighted candles, scorching the artist’s back. Parallel Practices will feature photographs and other visuals from The Conditioning. After a short battle with cancer, Pane died in 1990. C.A.M.H. is the first gallery to hold a comprehensive exhibition of Pane’s work.
For more information, please visit www.camh.org.