Paul Ramírez Jonas
Paul Ramírez Jonas was born in Pomona, California in 1965 and raised in Honduras. Educated at Brown University (BA, 1987) and Rhode Island School of Design (MFA, 1989), Ramírez Jonas, currently lives and works in Brooklyn. Over the last twenty-five years Ramírez Jonas has created works that range from large-scale public installations and monumental sculptures to intimate drawings, performances and videos. Through his practice he seeks to challenge definitions of art and the public, engineering active audience participation and exchange. For example, his 2010 Creative Time project, ‘Key to the City,’ involved 20,000 participants and centered around a key as a vehicle for exploring social contracts pertaining to trust, access, and belonging. Keys have featured repeatedly in his work as symbols of access and exclusion as well as public and private ownership. Multiples based on everyday objects such as coins also are a reoccurring motif, allowing the artist to question notions of value, circulation, and societal rituals or behaviors. He is currently an Associate Professor at Hunter College, where he has been since 2007, and is represented Galeria Nara Roesler.
On View Now
Paul Ramírez Jonas’ ‘Eternal Flame’ is a monument in the form of a communal grill and imagines cooking culture as both a symbolic and real eternal flame – there is always a lit cooking fire somewhere on this globe. The work honors the role of cuisine and cooking in cultural cohesion and expression among communities and identities, even when individuals and families relocate locally, nationally or internationally.
‘Eternal Flame’ is designed to recognize the importance of dialogue and exchange. During this new time of social distancing the grill will not be available for public use, but instead bring people together philosophically and culturally through the common experience of cooking and eating. With this in mind, a series of videos will be released with local and distant chefs invited by the artist to address the meaning of the eternal flame while preparing recipes and relating stories on each dish’s significance. Ramírez Jonas imagines cooking culture as a symbolic eternal flame, enduring in communities for generations, over vast distances.
Socrates staff grills lunch on Paul Ramírez Jonas’ ‘Eternal Flame,’ 2020, Image by Sara Morgan.
Jonathan Keats wrote in Forbes that Paul Ramírez Jonas’ ‘Eternal Flame’ sets an example for what future monuments should seek to achieve.
In fact, abstraction seems the most viable way in which to make monuments mutable, such that their meaning can evolve with society. Even the idea of monumentalizing people ought to be questioned. The multi-millennium history of monuments symbolizing principles such as justice might meaningfully be revived and revitalized in a visual or conceptual language that eschews old-fashioned sexist and racist imagery. A premonition of what this might include can be seen at Socrates Sculpture Park, where Paul Ramírez Jonas has installed a monument in the form of a grill. Called Eternal Flame, his monument is intended to foster cultural cohesion through communal preparation and consumption of meals.
Read the full article in Forbes–>
Film produced in association with Galeria Nara Roesler.