Jon Kessler

Biography of Jon Kessler

A machine-builder at heart, Jon Kessler delights in creating immersive kinetic installations that often incorporate sound elements. Using his art to make statements about surveillance and narcissism in contemporary existence, Kessler's playful yet powerful pieces merge simple mechanical processes with digital technology.


Apple technology literally frames Jon Kessler's installation The Web. Visitors to the installation enter through the empty display of an iPad whilst the central piece can be viewed through the multiple cutout screens of a MacBook. Screens and monitors punctuate the space of the installation and reflect the actions taking place—one of the artist’s trademark figures casually flips through an iPad whilst reclining in a hammock, his face filmed by an iPhone and replayed on monitors across the room, replicating the way modern technology and social media repeats visual information across multiple channels.


Born in 1957, Jon Kessler is one of the founders of Bozart toy company and the guitarist of the X-Patsys, also featuring Fassbinder-muse Barbara Sukowa. He has been honored with many awards including the Guggenheim Fellowship and the Foundation for the Performing Arts. Kessler is a professor at Columbia University and lives and works in New York City. He has exhibited internationally, having solo shows at the Whitney Museum of Art, New York, the Louisiana Museum of Moderne Kunst, Copenhagen, and the Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg, amongst others. Kessler's work features in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York, The Saatchi Collection, London, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

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