Every Public Has a Form is a public lecture and performance that speculates on the intricate relationship between public monuments, public memory, public space, and public protest.
In a provocative format – essentially a manifesto delivered in words, images, and in person – artist and educator Paul Ramírez Jonas presents a provocative thesis: that the public space is constituted as much by material as by personal conditions, and that new definitions are called for to describe and evaluate the “form”-giving impulse of both people in public space and the spaces themselves. As he collapses historical time and contemporary events, with references ranging from Mount Rushmore to Occupy Wall Street and the Pearl Roundabout in Manama, Bahrain, the artist proposes a continuously performing engagement between monuments and people.
Presented for the first time on the East Coast, Every Public Has a Form was a keynote lecture at Open Engagement at Portland State University in May 2012.
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Paul Ramírez Jonas is one of the most influential thinkers on public space and art, and has created participatory projects in many different countries. In 2010, his Key to the City project was presented by Creative Time in cooperation with the City of New York.
Selected solo exhibitions were featured at the Pinacoteca do Estado, Sao Paulo, Brazil; The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut; The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas; Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, England; Cornerhouse, Manchester, England; Alexander Gray Gallery, New York; Roger Björkholmen, Sweden; Nara Roesler Gallery, Brazil; and Postmasters Gallery, New York. His work has been included in group exhibitions at the Gallery for Contemporary Art Leipzig, Germany; P.S.1, New York; The Whitechapel Gallery, England; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin; Künstlerhaus, Vienna; The New Museum, New York; and Kunsthaus Zurich, Switzerland. He has participated in the 1st Johannesburg Biennale; the 1st Seoul Biennial; the 6th Shanghai Biennial; the 28th Sao Paulo Biennial; the 53rd Venice Biennial and the 7th Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil. Ramírez Jonas’work has been profiled in Artforum, Zing, ARTnews, New York Times, Art in America and other periodicals and journals. He was appointed Assistant Professor at Hunter College in 2007.
* Organized and presented by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics, as part of its 2011-2013 curatorial focus theme Thingness, and in conjunction with center’s New School class Art & the Political.
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Photo credit: Paul Ramírez Jonas