The Art Angle Podcast: Jennie C. Jones on Why You Should Listen to Her Paintings

The artist's exhibition at the Guggenheim is on view through May 2, 2022.

Artist Jennie C. Jones. Photo: Jason Frank Rothenberg.
Artist Jennie C. Jones. Photo: Jason Frank Rothenberg.

Welcome to the Art Angle, a podcast from Artnet News that delves into the places where the art world meets the real world, bringing each week’s biggest story down to earth. Join us every week for an in-depth look at what matters most in museums, the art market, and much more with input from our own writers and editors, as well as artists, curators, and other top experts in the field.

Right now at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, there’s an exhibition of paintings on view that might remind you of the postwar abstractions of painters like Barnett Newman and Agnes Martin, who made a virtue of empty space and muted palettes.

The difference is that the paintings at the Guggenheim today are not just meant to be looked at and admired. No, they are meant to be listened to—and that’s because the artist, Jennie C. Jones makes art that is as aural as it is visual, building her compositions directly onto acoustic panels, her signature material in order to shape the sound of the rooms in which they are installed.

For Jones, this barely perceptible effect is a way of paying deep homage to the black architects of mid-century avant-garde music, such as free jazz pioneers who turned strategic silence into a statement. “Listening” Jones has said, “is a conceptual practice all on its own.” .

On the occasion of the exhibition, which is called “Dynamics” and acts as a mid-career survey of the artist’s unique body of work, Artnet News’s features writer Taylor Dafoe met Jones at her studio in Hudson, New York, where they talked about embracing gesture, John Coltrane, and the artist’s own upstream path to recognition.

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