Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Is Lead Foundation Donor for US Pavilion at Venice Biennale

Joan Jonas, Volcano Saga (1985) Performing Garage, New York (1987). Courtesy Yvon Lambert.

With a $200,000 donation, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation will be the lead foundation donor for the US pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale.

Last week, curator Okwui Enwezor announced the 136 artists and collectives included in the “All the World’s Futures,” the Biennale’s main exhibition (see The 2015 Venice Biennale List of Artists Is Out—See Our Exclusive).

The gift was announced by the MIT List Visual Arts Center, the organizer of the US pavilion, which will feature an immersive multimedia installation from veteran video and performance artist Joan Jonas (see Performance Art Great Joan Jonas Will Represent US at 2015 Venice Biennale), inspired by the work of writer Halldór Laxness as well as other literary sources. The center’s ongoing fundraising efforts for the Biennale have raised $1.5 million to date.

Elizabeth Smith, the executive director of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, called the foundation’s donation “a particularly meaningful gift for us” in a statement, citing Frankenthaler’s inclusion in the US pavilion, along with Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, and Jules Olitski at the 33rd Venice Biennale. “It seems fitting that, 49 years later, the Foundation is able to support another pioneering artist at this major moment in her long and distinguished career.”

Paul Ha, the director of List, as well as the commissioner and co-curator of the US’s pavilion, extended his thanks to the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation in a statement: “We’re very excited to present Joan Jonas’s latest work in Venice this May, and the Foundation’s gift will play an important role in bringing her vision for the US pavilion to life.”

Titled “They Come to Us Without a Word,” the Jonas installation will take over the five rooms of the US pavilion with drawings, videos, sound, and objects, with common themes uniting the distinct spaces.

Other donors to the US Pavilion include Cynthia and John Reed, the Council for the Arts at MIT, Elizabeth A. Sackler, Agnes Gund (see Agnes Gund Names Dogs After Bronzino and Giotto, the Lambent Foundation, and Artnet Worldwide.

The 2015 Venice Biennale will run from May 9–November 22.

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