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Carte Blanche: Joan Jonas

April 25, 2024 – April 30, 2024

The Museum of Modern Art

Joan Jonas’s lifetime of insatiable movie watching, soaking up classics and newfound discoveries alike, has had a profound impact on the shape and themes of her own moving images, art, and performance work. Presented in conjunction with the major exhibition Joan Jonas: Good Night Good Morning, this Carte Blanche program features films selected by Jonas from MoMA’s collection, presented alongside a number of her own rarely screened video works. Taken together, they make vividly evident that, from the earliest days of her experimentation with the new medium of video, Jonas has absorbed and translated the conventions of cinema into her own polyvalent practice. 

“I used the language of film in my performances,” Jonas has observed, “the idea of editing, the cut, the montage.” This is especially so with respect to classic Japanese cinema, particularly the work of Yasujirō Ozu (A Story of Floating Weeds, 1934), whose humor and pathos, rhythms and compositions were a guiding spirit for Jonas’s performance work. (She even named her beloved dog “Ozu” in tribute to the filmmaker.) Classic European and Soviet cinema were a near-daily part of Jonas’s movie diet in the 1960s and ’70s, as represented in this series with an eclectic mix that includes Federico Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria (1957), Marcel Carné’s Children of Paradise (1945), and Esfir Shub’s revolutionary documentary The Fall of the Romanov Dynasty (1927). Moreover, in a nod to her fascination with the wonders and strangeness of the natural world and the human body, Jonas has chosen to present Tropical Malady (2004) by the contemporary Thai filmmaker Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

View up-to-date series schedule here.

Organized by Joshua Siegel, Curator, Department of Film, with Gee Wesley, Curatorial Assistant, and Mitchell Herrmann, Mellon-Marron Research Consortium Fellow, Department of Media and Performance.


Film at MoMA is made possible by CHANEL.

Additional support is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Debra and Leon D. Black, with major contributions from the Triad Foundation, Inc., The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Young Patrons Council of The Museum of Modern Art, and by Karen and Gary Winnick.


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Le Notti Di Cabiria (Nights of Cabiria). 1957. Italy/France. Directed by Federico Fellini. Courtesy Rialto Pictures/Studiocanal

Children of Paradise. 1945. France. Directed by Marcel Carné. Courtesy Janus Films

Tropical Malady. 2004. Thailand/France. Directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Courtesy Strand Releasing