Jonah King

Jonah King is an interdisciplinarity artist exploring human/nonhuman relations and speculative futures. Their multifaceted world-building projects examine how ecological intimacies influence individual and social identity.




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Jonah King

Leisure Sports: Leisure Sports - Clima Milan

Solo Gallery Exhibition


In ‘Leisure Sports,’ Jonah King presents a new body of video and sculpture work. The artist developed the works in collaboration with Joseph Miller and Richard Milanesi, two California residents, avid golfers, and supporters of Donal Trump. King invited the two men to participate in an impossible game of golf across the arid Mohave desert.

A single channel looping work, “How The West Was Won,” takes its name from the title of a 1962 John Ford movie, one of two feature films shot in the extravagant super-wide format. The epic-western genre film chronicles the history of the American West from 1839-1890.

The two-channel installation “The Good News Is, He Thinks I’m God,” is derived from the participants repotire of “Dad-Jokes,” an American joke format similar to the British “shaggy dog story.” This awkward, long-form format, relies on the invincibility of an intentionally disappointing punch-line and is colloquially known as a mark implicit desperation, presented at a moment of conversation lull as a way to seem relevant or entertaining across a generation gap.

Two accompanying works “Untitled (relic)” and “Joseph Miller, Richard Milanesi, 1851”, position the participants across different positions in time. The subjects own bodies, their ancestors, and the far future. “Untitled (relic)” is engraved with a central diagram from Copernicus’s “On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres,” the first recorded conception of the solar-system in Western cosmology where Earth is not depicted as the center of the universe.

The first pioneers colonizing the American West met the territorial end of the New World on the Pacific coast of California. Since then, that county has been the epicenter of further colonial projects. The decimation of American values via entertainment and tech, and most recently the first private ventures into outer space. California is the wealthiest state in North America, and the sixth largest economy on Earth, however, its entire infrastructure exists in direct contradiction to its environment. The last ten years of drought is said to have been the driest in 1200 years, and cities such as Los Angeles are in constant battle with water shortages and wildfires.

Taking inspiration from Descartes, The French Classical Garden style emerged to epitomize monarch and ‘man’ dominating and manipulating nature to show his authority, wealth, and power. The golf course, with its unnatural, manicured landscape is a direct descendant of that impulse. There are 1,126 full sized golf courses in California, including many owned by US President, Donald Trump.


Photo: Marco Davolio

Is There Golf in Heaven? Sarah Aziz and Adam Farcus in discussion on Jonah King’s exhibition How the West was Won - Sixty Inches from Center