Joan Jonas was born Joan Amerman Edwards in New York, NY, USA in 1936. She studied art history at Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley from 1954 to 1958. She then studied sculpture at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Chicago, graduating in 1961. At Columbia University, New York she completed a degree in painting from 1961 to 1964. From 1995 to 2002, she taught sculpture at the State Academy of Fine Arts, Stuttgart, Germany. From 1998 to 2014, Jonas taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and is professor emerita of the MIT Program in Art, Culture & Technology (ACT), part of the School of Architecture and Planning. In 2009, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. In 2018, she won the Kyoto Prize, considered Japan's highest private award for global achievement from the Inamori Foundation. In 1972, 1977, 1982 and 1987, Joan Jonas participated in Documenta 5, 6,7 and 8 in Kassel, Germany. In 2009 she was featured at the Biennale di Venezia, where she represented the United States in the American Pavilion in 2015. In 1994, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands dedicated a retrospective to her. In 2003/2004 she was honored by the Queens Museum of Art, New York, USA with a solo exhibition. In 2014/2015 Joan Jonas designed the Iron Curtain at the Vienna State Opera as part of the exhibition series conceived by museum in progress. Joan Jonas lives in New York.