"Signifying" 

essay by Amiri Baraka, Poet Laureate
"Deliverance" THE ART OF BEN JONES 1970 - 2008, 
Jersey City Museum, 2008

"Ben Jones' work seeks to always connect two casually disconnected concerns, spirituality and politics (social life). But if you are somewhat thoughtful, you will already understand that these are always connected, linked in indissoluble ways, for positive or negative.

What we call art is one of the most obvious venues for this unity or struggle. Mao Zedong had laid this out clearly in his Yenan Forum on Art and Literature(1941): Art is the ideological reflection of the world in the mind of the artist.

Spiritality, concern or reflection of the spiritual, is a constant theme of Ben Jones's work. But that concern is also measured in Jones' mind and work by its effect on social life, life in society. And this is the essence of Jones's politics; that he seeks a spiritual magnification to our lives, to life itself. This is both its mystery and its aspiration."


ARTIST BIO

Ben F. Jones
(born in 1941, New Jersey), received an MFA from Pratt University (Brooklyn, NY), MA from New York University (New York, NY) and BFA from Paterson University (Wayne, NJ). Jones has made over fifty cultural exchange visits to Cuba since the 1970's, and is noted by the Granma International of Havana, Cuba as one of the most important African-American artists of his generation. A New York Times critic recently noted of Jones’ installation at Jersey City Museum in February 2009, “Many memorable, thought provoking images that deserve to be....known and appreciated.”

For nearly five decades, Jones' multimedia installations have reflected his travel and research in Africa, Europe, South America, United States and the Caribbean to include the Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY), Studio Museum of Harlem (New York, NY) and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Havana, Cuba) to name a few. He has received numerous grants and awards including two National Endowment for the Arts grants (2007 and 1974-75), The Puffin Foundation 2005) and The Joan Mitchell Foundation grant (2002) among many others.

Jones has lectured at universities, museums and cultural institutions worldwide including, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Howard University (Washington, DC), Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA), Wilfredo Lam Center (Havana, Cuba) and University of Ghana (Accra, Ghana) to name a few.

He is currently a Professor of Art at New Jersey City University in Jersey City, NJ. He lives and works in Jersey City, NJ.
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