Paul Ramírez Jonas’ imagines his ‘Eternal Flame’ monument as a communal grill. What keeps the flame burning is the participation of Park visitors as they use the monument to cook and share with their friends and families. The form honors the role of cuisine and cooking in cultural cohesion and expression among immigrant communities and identities. ‘Eternal Flame’ is designed to invite dialogue and exchange. Ramírez Jonas imagines cooking culture as a symbolic eternal flame, enduring in communities for generations.
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.
In addition to conceiving public projects, both permanent (eg. Taylor Square, Cambridge Mass, 2005-) and temporary (eg. Public Trust, Boston, 2016), Ramírez Jonas has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions at venues including Museo Jumex, Mexico City (2018); a 25 year survey at the Contemporary Art Museum Houston, Texas (2017); The New Museum, New York (2017); the Aldrich Contemporary
Art Museum, Ridgefield (2008); the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin (2007); and the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2004). His work has also been presented in major group exhibitions, such as Crossing Brooklyn, at the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn; Under the Same Sun, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2014); and Residue of Memory, Aspen Art Museum (2012); as well as at Biennales in Central America (2016), Porto Alegre (2009 and 2012), Venice (2009), Shanghai (2006), Seoul (2000), and Johannesburg (1995). He is currently an Associate Professor at Hunter College, where he has been since 2007, and is represented Galeria Nara Roesler in Sao Paulo.