April 24, 2017 - Contemporary Arts Museum Houston - Paul Ramírez Jonas: Atlas, Plural, Monumental
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April 24, 2017

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston

Paul Ramírez Jonas, The Commons, 2011. Cork, wood, steel, adhesive, hardware, and pushpins. Work and image courtesy the artist and Galeria Nara Roesler. © Paul Ramírez Jonas.

Paul Ramírez Jonas
Atlas, Plural, Monumental
April 29–August 6, 2017

Opening: April 28, 6:30–9pm

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
5216 Montrose Boulevard
Houston, TX 77006
United States

camh.org
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Paul Ramírez Jonas
Atlas, Plural, Monumental
April 29–August 6, 2017

Opening: April 28, 6:30–9pm

Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
5216 Montrose Boulevard
Houston, TX 77006
United States

camh.org
Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Tumblr / YouTube

Including works made over the past 25 years, Atlas, Plural, Monumental is artist Paul Ramírez Jonas’s first survey exhibition in the Americas. It features sculptures, photographs, videos, drawings, a newly commissioned sculpture, and signature participatory works that demonstrate how Ramírez Jonas is redefining public art through an innovative practice that considers how artworks can galvanize the formation of communities.

In early works, Ramírez Jonas utilizes unlikely sources—such as scientific experiments—and treats them as “scores” that he creatively reinterprets. When his faithful reproductions of kites designed by the inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Joseph Lecornu took to the air, they carried alarm clocks Ramírez Jonas hacked to trigger the shutters of single-use disposable cameras. The resulting photographs—each paired with its kite—capture images of the artist on the ground. While the kites can be appreciated for their sculptural form, the photographs exhibited alongside them prove their aerial capability and document the artist's action across various temporal layers. In other instances, Ramírez Jonas presents museum visitors with the opportunity to complete a “score.” In His Truth is Marching On (1993), the public is invited to use a mallet to tap a hanging chandelier of water-filled wine bottles whose successive musical notes produce a rendition of The Battle Hymn of the Republic.

In 2005, Ramírez Jonas shifted his focus toward decidedly public forms, including monuments, keys to the city, and public oaths. Where monuments commonly memorialize singular individuals and events with immutable proclamations set in bronze and stone, Ramírez Jonas provides us with ephemeral and ever-changing alternatives. The Commons (2011) is a riderless equestrian statue crafted entirely from cork, and the public is invited to attach offerings to its plinth with pushpins. In creating a sculpture that accommodates a diversity of messages rather than the singular voice of the state, Ramírez Jonas works to democratize the form. In Public Trust (2016–ongoing), museum visitors are invited to consider the value of their word by making a promise that is recorded in a drawing that is gifted to them and shared with the visiting public via marquee signage in CAMH's Brown Foundation Gallery. The artist and local performers will activate Public Trust each Saturday during the exhibition's run from 1-5pm.

Ramírez Jonas’s work galvanizes connections between the personal, the collective, and the public, making them concrete and observable. Manifested in visually, materially, and conceptually compelling forms, Ramírez Jonas’s work invigorates the cultural commons by inviting the public to reflect on and engage with public art in inventive and telling ways.

About the artist
Paul Ramírez Jonas was born in California and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. His work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Exploratorium, San Francisco (2014); Pinacoteca do Estado, São Paulo (2011); The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut (2008); The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas (2007); and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, England (2004). His work has also been included in group exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum, P.S.1. Contemporary Art Center, and the New Museum in New York, and at the Museo Jumex, Mexico City; the Whitechapel Gallery, London; and the Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland.

Publication
Atlas, Plural, Monumental is accompanied by a generously-illustrated, full-color catalogue with an introductory essay by CAMH Director Bill Arning; an essay by CAMH Curator Dean Daderko; and commissioned essays by Claire Barliant and Shannon Jackson. The most comprehensive survey of the artist’s work to date, this book is designed by Federico Pérez Villorio, edited by Karen Kelly, Patricia Restrepo and Barbara Schroeder, published by Dancing Foxes Press and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and distributed by D.A.P. It features a checklist of works in the exhibition in addition to biographic and bibliographic information.

Related programs

Public Trust
April 29–August 5, #PublicTrustHTX 

In conversation Paul Ramírez Jonas and Dean Daderko
April 29, 11am–12pm 

Open studio: Kite-making
May 6, 2–4pm 

Participatory gallery tour with Deborah Fisher
May 25, 6:30–7:30pm 
 

CAMH mission
The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is a leading destination to experience innovative art. CAMH actively encourages public engagement with its exhibitions through its educational programs, publications, and online presence.

Always fresh, always free

General information
The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston is located at 5216 Montrose Boulevard, at the corner of Montrose and Bissonnet, in the heart of Houston’s Museum District. Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 10am–7pm, Thursday 10am–9pm, Saturday 10am–6pm, and Sunday 12–6pm. Admission is always free. For more information, visit camh.org or call T 713 284 8250.

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