Paul Ramírez Jonas
Artist in the Public Realm



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 the definitions of art and the public and to engineer active audience participation and exchange. His 2010 Creative Time project, Key to the City, for example, 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, 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 (2017), The New Museum (2017), the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut (2008); the Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas (2007); and the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2004). His work has also been presented in major group exhibitions, such as Crossing Brooklyn, at the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY, 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 a Professor, Art Department Chair, Director of Graduate Studies at the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning at Cornell University and is represented by the Galeria Nara Roesler in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and New York.

Currently, he is working on a large-scale, socially engaged art project for the National Mall in Washington DC, scheduled for fall 2023.