Activist. Artist. Filmmaker. Joel Tauber sparks discourse and facilitates change via direct actions and interventions, video installations, films, photographs, public art, podcasts, and written stories.
“Tauber can be as poignantly eccentric as German performance jester John Bock, and as profound as Joseph Beuys.” – Emma Gray, ArtReview Magazine
Joel Tauber (he/him; born in 1972; Boston, Massachusetts, USA) comes from a long line of rabbis, including the Gaon Rabbi Yehuda Aszód (1796-1866) of Hungary. Tauber spent 12 years studying Jewish philosophy and religion in Hebrew and ancient Aramaic at the Maimonides School in Boston, where he was valedictorian. Afterwards, Tauber went to Yale University (Connecticut, USA) to prepare to become a doctor but changed course when he took a sculpture class with the critic, art historian, and conceptual artist Ronald Jones; who showed him the potential that art has to generate discourse and facilitate change. These conversations with Ron, as well as with his other artistic mentors — including Mike Kelley, Stephen Prina, Hirsch Perlman, and Patti Podesta at ArtCenter College of Design (California, USA), where he went to graduate school — and his readings of Jewish mystics like Rabbi Yehuda Aszód who talked about the Kabbalistic mandate of Tikkun Olam (doing whatever we can to repair the world); have led Tauber on a series of art, film, and activist projects, including: Border-Ball: A 40-Day Pilgrimage Along The U.S.-Mexico Border, BELT: A 2-Man Memoir, UNDERWATER: An Operatic Disco, The Sharing Project, Pumping, Sick-Amour, Searching for The Impossible: The Flying Project, and Seven Attempts To Make A Ritual.
Tauber’s work has been shown in solo art exhibitions at a number of locations, including Galerie Adamski in Berlin as well as Aachen, Germany; KOENIG2 by_robbygreif in Vienna, Austria; the Carolyn Campagna Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum at California State University Long Beach; the Helen Lindhurst Fine Arts Gallery at the University of Southern California; the Rocky Mountain School of Photography (Montana, USA); the Smith Gallery at Appalachian State University (North Carolina, USA); the Aiken County Historical Museum (South Carolina, USA); and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects (California, USA). He has been included in numerous group art exhibitions including the 2004 and 2008 California Biennials at the Orange County Museum of Art; “The Gravity in Art” at the De Appel Centre For Contemporary Art in Amsterdam (Netherlands); “Cluster Balloons: From Lawn Chairs to Cosmic Rays” at the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Balloon Museum in Albuquerque (New Mexico, USA); and “sharity – teilen, tauschen, verzichten” at the Kunst(Zeug)Haus in Rapperswil-Jona (Switzerland). Tauber’s film, Border-Ball, was awarded “Best Experimental Documentary” at the 2021 Cambio International Film Festival (Istanbul, Turkey) and “Best Experimental Short” at the December 2020 Pure Magic International Film Festival (Amsterdam, Netherlands). His film, The Sharing Project, won “Best Experimental Film” at the 2021 Chauri Chaura International Film Festival (Gorakhpur, India),”Best International Documentary Film” at the 2019 Vintage International Film Festival (Kolhapur, India), and “Best International Documentary Short” at the 2019 LakeCity International Film Festival (Noida, India). His film, Sick-Amour, was awarded “Best Green Film” at the 2010 DTLA Film Festival (Los Angeles), a Sir Edmond Hilary Award at the 2011 Mountain Film Festival (Mammoth, California), and “Best Documentary Film” at the 2019 Ahmednagar International Short Film Festival (Ahmednagar, India). Other film festivals include Oaxaca FilmFest (Oaxaca, Mexico), the Atlanta Film Festival (Georgia, USA), the Sedona International Film Festival (Arizona, USA), and the Big Apple Film Festival (New York, USA). Tauber won the 2007 Contemporary Collectors of Orange County Fellowship (California), the 2007-2008 CalArts / Alpert Ucross Residency Prize for Visual Arts (USA), and a 2015 grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation For The Visual Arts in conjunction with a residency from The Grand Central Art Center (California). His project, Sick-Amour, was shortlisted for a 2011 International Green Award (England). Tauber’s work has been featured in numerous media outlets, including National Public Radio (USA), KCRW Radio (California), WFDD Radio (North Carolina), Deutsche Welle / Deutschlandfunk radio (Germany), ORF Radio: Ö1 (Austria), NBC local news Los Angeles, NBC local news San Diego, the Ovation Network (USA), Swedish Television, ArtReview Magazine (England), The Design Magazine (Los Angeles), ArtWeek, artUS Magazine, The Pasadena Star News (California), and The Los Angeles Times.
Joel Tauber (M.F.A., ArtCenter College of Design; M.Ed., Lesley University; BA, Yale University) is an associate professor at Wake Forest University (Winston-Salem, North Carolina), where he teaches filmmaking and video art.