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Paul Ramirez Jonas: Public Trust, 2016 – February 6 – April 10, 2016 @ Grand Central Art Center

Paul Ramirez Jonas:  Public Trust, 2016
February 6 through April 10, 2016

The artist will activate the work during the first Saturday Art Walks
from 7-10pm on February 6, March 5 and April 2.


Working with CSUF alum  Robert Huskey (BA, Visual Communications ’14), we created a video documenting the process of  Public Trust, 2016  during the opening reception on February 6th.    Here is a link to the  YouTube video:

Public Trust is a series of interactive performances about promises Paul Ramirez Jonas is developing with a future public project in Boston hosted by Now and There. These situations continue the artist’s use of speech acts as both the means to engage the public; as well as the end itself – to have the participants perform a speech act in public. In 2007 he created Broadside, a work that invited people to read, perhaps out loud, an oath to tell the truth. In 2008, he created Well, a work where one could make a wish. In that same year Paper Moon, I create as I speak, invited viewers to cast a magic spell. In his large public project Key to the City,  participants were able to bestow the key to the City of New York on one another by publicly enacting a ceremony out loud. All these were forms of speech acts, where something was made with words. The first version of Public Trust 2015, allowed participants to tell the artist a lie that he would then notarize to transform into a legal “truth”. The Grand Central Art Center version of Public Trust moves into the territory of promises. At one end of the spectrum we tell each other lies, outright deceptions, and at the other end we tell each other facts, true regardless of our intentions. Everything in the middle is a sort of promise we make between each other. This version also asks the public to vouch for their promises from a vast array of collaterals: taking oaths over sacred or civic texts, swearing over holy objects or materials, calling on a witness, offering a credit report as proof of one’s trustworthiness, etc. The performances at Grand Central Art Center will be dynamic, engaging, and festive. Each interaction will provide an opportunity for the artist to learn and adapt from the public’s response. As willing participants utter their promises, and then “give their word” in whatever way they see fit, their promises will go up on a display board (anonymously) for all to read. The board will also display other promissory statements culled from that day’s news – political promises, the weather report, scientific predictions, and economic forecasts.

Ramirez Jonas believes a work can create clearly defined situations, ones that allow participants to speak in public and invite self-reflection. Furthermore, works like Public Trust create a dialogue, where participants can learn from each other and themselves by reflecting on the premises of their speech. Together this framework creates the opportunity to question suppositions that typically go without question.

Public Trust has been developed through a Grand Central Art Center artists-in-residence and support from Now and There, Boston, MA. Support for the residency has been provided by a grant to GCAC from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

Paul Ramí­­rez Jonas’ selected solo exhibitions include The Exploratorium, San Francisco, California; Pinacoteca do Estado, Sao Paulo, Brazil; The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut; The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas; a survey at Ikon Gallery (UK) and Cornerhouse (UK); Alexander Gray Gallery (NYC); Roger Bjí­¶rkholmen (Sweden); Nara Roesler Gallery (Brazil); and Postmasters Gallery (NYC). He has been included in group exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum (NYC); P.S.1 (NYC); The Whitechapel (UK); Irish Museum of Modern Art (Ireland); The New Museum (NYC); and Kunsthaus Zurich (Switzerland). He has participated in the Johannesburg Biennale; the Seoul Biennial, the Shanghai Biennial; the 28th Sao Paulo Biennial; the 53rd Venice Biennial and the 7th Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil. In 2010 his Key to the City project was presented by Creative Time in cooperation with the City of New York.

More information on the artists work can be found online at: