Paul Ramírez Jonas, Paper Moon (I Create as I Speak), 2008, installation view and details, . Courtesy of Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum .
Alexander Gray Associates
508 West 26th Street, 2nd floor, 212-399-2636
April 1 - May 9, 2009
Reception: Wednesday, April 1, 6 - 8 PM
Alexander Gray Associates is pleased to announce its first exhibition with Paul Ramírez Jonas. Since the early 1990s, Ramírez Jonas has expanded notions of conceptual-based practice, drawing on themes of geographic exploration, national identity and democracy through poetic installations, sculptures, and media-based artworks.
At Alexander Gray Associates, Ramírez Jonas presents a large-scale installation work, Paper Moon (I Create as I Speak), which was presented at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in 2008. Consisting of sheets of paper tiled to represent an image of the moon, upon closer inspection, the design is made up of text that reads, “I Create as I Speak.” A single sheet is removed from the wall and rests on a lectern, with a microphone and a portable amplifier, inviting the viewer to interact with the work. The text plays with words; “I Create as I Speak” translates to ABRACADABRA in the ancient Aramaic language. The installation is juxtaposed with the sculpture, Broadside, which consists of a lectern holding a slab of unfired clay, on which the Pauper’s Oath is inscribed. It is an apt and topical text for the current economic times; sited in front of the gallery’s windows, the piece and its viewers engage in a dialogue with New York’s skyline.
An early work of Ramírez Jonas, Magellan’s Itinerary, A Reproduction (1995), is included in the exhibition. In this work on paper, a travel agent built a flight itinerary based on Ferdinand Magellan’s first circumnavigation of the globe. Nearly 15 years after its inception, the piece has remarkable resonance, conflating intention and time.
Ramírez Jonas (b. 1965, California, raised in Honduras), lives and works in New York. In 2009, he will participate in the 53rd Venice Biennial (Pabellon de America Latina); the 7th Mercosul Biennial, Porto Alegre, Brazil; and The Quick and the Dead, curated by Peter Eleey at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN. Recent solo museum exhibitions include the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT (2008); The Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin (2007); and a mid-career survey at IKON Gallery, Birmingham, United Kingdom (2004). Public art commissions include Hudson River Park, New York, NY; and Taylor Square, Cambridge, MA (2005).
His work was featured in numerous group exhibitions since the early 1990s, including the São Paolo Biennial (2008); Democracy in America Convergence Center, Creative Time at the Park Avenue Armory (2008); Ensemble, ICA Philadelphia (2007); Shanghai Biennial (2006); inSite_05 (2005); Paper Sculpture Show, Independent Curators International (2003); In the Public Realm, Public Art Fund, New York (2001); Media CIty Seoul, Seoul Biennial, Korea (2000); Projects, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (1997); Inclusion: Exclusion, Künstlerhaus, Graz (1996); Johannesburg Biennale (1995); Fever, Exit Art, Wexner Center (1993); and Fluxus Attitudes, New Museum (1992). Ramírez Jonas is represented in the collections of the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX; The Bronx Museum of Art, Bronx, NY; Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Caracas and New York; Malmö Konstmuseum, Malmö, Sweden; and the New Museum, New York, NY. He has received numerous grants and awards, including fellowships from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, Art Matters, and the Howard Foundation. He holds a B.A. from Brown University and M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design. Ramírez Jonas is a Professor of Art at Hunter College, New York, NY.