We Make the Treasure: An Afternoon with Artist Paul Ramirez Jonas

Sunday, October 12, 2014 • 2:00–3:30 p.m.

Exploratorium, Pier 15, Kanbar Forum


Artist Paul Ramirez Jonas' We Make the Treasure investigates the value of objects lost and recovered, above and below the water line. Evoking the true story of the Beeswing, a long-sunken schooner in San Francisco Bay, the work positions a rowboat, crane, and various coins as gateways to interaction and reflection. At this special event, Ramirez Jonas will give a visual presentation on a range of projects animated by his interest in participation, history, and exchange. His presentation will be followed by a conversation with Marina McDougall, Director of the Exploratorium's Center for Art & Inquiry.

We Make the Treasure is the second in the Exploratorium's Over the Water series of large-scale commissioned outdoor artworks for Pier 15, and is on view in The Plaza through January 2015. The work was commissioned by the Exploratorium’s Center for Art & Inquiry in collaboration with the Studio for Public Space. Nato Thompson, chief curator of Creative Time in New York, served as advising curator.

Paul Ramirez Jonas’s public art inspires moments of intimate reflection while evoking what we share in common. Guided by an overarching interest in participation, many of his commissions encourage direct public engagement. For his large-scale Key to the City project (2010) with Creative Time, in cooperation with the City of New York, the artist reproduced thousands of keys, which unlocked two dozen specific locks across the city’s five boroughs. These keys were ceremoniously presented to individuals in Times Square, along with passports listing the active sites. Other works have been exhibited at the São Paulo Biennial, Shanghai Biennial, Johannesburg Biennial, and Venice Biennale, and he has had solo exhibitions at Pinacoteca do Estado (São Paulo), The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgefield, Connecticut), The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art (Austin, Texas), Ikon Gallery (UK), and Cornerhouse (UK). His work has been featured in group shows at the Guggenheim Museum, New Museum, MoMA PS1, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and has been profiled in ARTFORUM, Zing, ARTnews, The New York Times, Art in America, and other publications.

Ramirez Jonas lives and works in New York City, where he teaches at Hunter College. Born and raised in Honduras, Ramirez Jonas attended Brown University (BFA) and the Rhode Island School of Design (MFA).