I was born in Yonkers, N. Y. where my great-grandfather founded a well-known women’s clothing store named “The Fashion Shop” at the turn of the century. My grandfather and father ran the store until it burned down when I was 13. I was liberated from my family obligations and knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the arts. My other passion was guitar and I played in several bands throughout high school. In 1974, I went to art school but left after two years thinking that I didn’t have enough life experience to draw upon. I left for a long sojourn, hitchhiking through West Africa and Europe and getting odd jobs along the way. My trip lasted for two years and upon my return, I completed my degree. In 1980, I moved to Williamsburg and renovated a derelict building where I still work today. In 1989, I moved to Paris for five years and returned in ‘94 for a full time teaching position at Columbia University. I was the Chair of the Division of Visual Arts from 2000-2005 and continue to teach there. I continue to play guitar in several art rock bands.

Jon's artwork

Swan making video

This is a video which shows me making one of my Swans, a series of video sculptures

Chapter 8: Pump it Up

Chapter 8: Pump it Up By: Jon Kessler

The Prison

A kinetic sculpture that's a part of The Web installation

Titty Twister

Titty Twister is an interactive sound sculpture made in 2014