Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Performance Art/Theater 2020

Jonathan González

Portrait of Jonathan Gonzàlez at a side angle with his eyes closed. He is in front of a brick wall and wear a grey patterned tank top and a thin gold chain on his neck.
Photo by Alexis Ruiseco-Lombera.
  • Transdisciplinary Artist, Educator
  • Born 1991, Queens, NY
  • Lives in Brooklyn, NY
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  • Additional Information
  • gonzalezinfo.com

I have been able to fund the initial and coming phases of new creative work and support the needs of my community during this unprecedented [pandemic] year. More specifically, I’ve been in creative production with BRIC Arts Media as a Video Art resident composing a film on the prescient role of community gardens in New York City, as well as the shifting landscape on sites like Governors Island due to concomitant gentrification. Secondarily, I have been organizing mutual aid efforts after the murder of George Floyd within an abolitionist think tank entitled, The People’s Space. The remaining funds have been split with one portion going towards the immediate needs of my community for emergency services (i.e., housing, childcare, healthcare expenses). The second portion has been saved in order to support my immediate expenses as the prospect of cultural opportunities are unclear in 2021 due to COVID-19.

- Jonathan González, December 21, 2020

Biography

Jonathan González is an artist working at the intersections of choreography, sculpture, text, and time-based media. Their practice speculates on circumstances of land, economies of labor, and the conditions that figure black and contemporary life through research-based processes synthesized through performative assemblages usually generated collaboratively.

González’s work ZERO (2018) presented the history and trauma of slave trafficking practices against the architecture of St. Mark’s Church, and was nominated for a New York Dance and Performance "Bessie" Award for Outstanding Production. Lucifer Landing I, a commissioned work presented at MoMA PS1 in 2019, proposed the idea of a solitary dwelling as a choreographic action. This installation with original score and film conceptualized blackness and post-anthropocentrism in the form of a geodesic dome through which visitors were encouraged to move, one-by-one.

González’s Illusion Procedures played with the iconic image of the black entertainer to subvert traditions related to theater, the stage, and representation, and was presented at The Studio Museum in Harlem as part of their symposium Culture in a Changing America (2017). Their writings have been published by 53rd State Press, Contact QuarterlyCultured Magazine, and deem journal.

In 2019, González was a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” nominee for Breakout Choreographer. They have received fellowships from the Art Matters Foundation and the Jerome Foundation, and were an artist in residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, and the Shandaken Project on Governors Island.

González is a graduate of LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts and has a B.A. from Trinity College, an O.Y.P. from Trinity Laban Conservatoire, and an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College.

Artist Statement

I compose performance, text, sound, film, and sculpture. These works are abstractions, or illegible revisions, and/or revisitations on themes of the built environment, economies of historical data, and the political utility of the stage. My work is often collaborative with the intent to expand the field of artistic practices in any creative process, and to highlight the ethical questions of authorship, finances, and labor. Even in the form of objects, many of these works are performative and corporeal, at times manifesting as constructed items typically used for manual labor, and/or choreographing biological material. I am particularly intrigued by what becomes disrupted through the social act of witnessing and participation.

- December 2019

Two performers hold a wooden box between them and face away from viewers. Ontop of the wooden box, there are two dress shoes. One performer wears a red robe and the other wears a black robe. The performers walk on light grey gravel that is painted with a black circle pattern.
Performance still from Lucifer Landing I, at MoMA PS1, Long Island City, 2019. Performers: Taja Cheek and Alex Sloane. Photo by Maria Baranova.
Two black dress shoes sit on top of a wooden box engulfed in flames.
Performance still from Lucifer Landing I, at MoMA PS1, Long Island City, 2019. Photo by Maria Baranova.
Performers walk across a New York City crosswalk at night. Three performers hold a structure of wooden beams between them. All performers are looking forwards.
Performance still from ZERO, at Danspace Project, New York, 2018. Performers: Ki Nen, Qu, and Elijah Soto. Photo by Liz Charky.
Projection of debris, rocks, signs and flames on triangular panels on columns.
Installation view of Lucifer Landing I, in collaboration with Rena Anakwe, Rudy Gerson, and Pamela Liou, at MoMA PS1, Long Island City, 2019. Photo by Maria Baranova.
Photograph of a black trash can at night with a wooden cross sticking out of it. Behind it, there is a thin tree.
Performance still from black MoMA, at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2018. Photo by Alycia Kravitz.