Joe Jones, Music Wagon for Asolo, 1986, Silkscreen on cloth, 123 × 112 cm, Edition of 30
Courtesy of Archivio Conz, Berlin
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  • Silkscreen on cloth
  • 123 × 112 cm
    (48 ⅜ × 44 ⅛ inches)
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  • Joe Jones (1934 New York City, New York – 1993 Wiesbaden, Germany) was an American avant-garde musician known for his astounding music machines. Assembled from instruments and mechanical components found on Canal Street in New York City, Jones’s automated machines are activated by small motors and rotating propellers that run on plucked strings or percussion instruments. While producing steady, modulated sounds, they adapt to the most diverse shapes. Presenting his sound machines as individual instruments or resounding orchestras, Jones participated in the 1963 Yam Festival in New Brunswick, Fluxus concerts at Carnegie Recital Hall and Judson Hall, and several subsequent editions of Charlotte Moorman’s Annual Avant Garde Festival. In 1969, Jones opened the Tone Deaf Music Store, where passersby could activate his motorized instruments directly from the storefront window. In 1970, the space hosted a legendary series of events organized by Yoko Ono and John Lennon in collaboration with Maciunas, featuring performances by Geoffrey Hendricks, Robert Watts, and Ben Vautier, among others. After relocating to Europe, the meeting with Francesco Conz inaugurated a decade-long exchange of collaborations and edition commissions. Jones has performed in numerous institutions, including the Akademie der Künste in Berlin (1976, 1980, 1989), the Wiener Secession in Vienna (1980), and the Bonner Kunstverein in Bonn (1989). His one-of-a-kind instruments are included in various public collections, such as those of The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien in Vienna.

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