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Paul Ramírez Jonas

Public Trust

Oct 8-Nov 7, 2020

Paul Ramírez Jonas, Public Trust, 2016. Marquee, table, sacred and civic texts, oaths, 950 promises from private individuals, 84 promises from public figures, graphite and paper, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and Now and There. Photo: Field Studio

Artist Paul Ramírez Jonas’s interactive artwork Public Trust (2016–ongoing) invites participants to examine the value we grant to our words through the promises we make to each other and to ourselves. All ages are asked to make a promise, which is recorded in a drawing they can keep, and as part of the declaration, they are called on to swear—in a manner consistent with their own beliefs—that they will keep their word. Each promise is also published on a large marquee outside the museum alongside daily pledges from news headlines made by politicians, scientists, economists, and weather forecasters.

Presented as part of moCa Cleveland’s exhibition F as in Frank, a show that will unfold as a series of chapters throughout 2020 and 2021, Ramírez Jonas’s Public Trust will be installed outside moCa on Toby’s Plaza from October 8 through November 7, 2020. Activated during the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election (on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 12–4PM), the piece offers us the opportunity to collectively shape an artwork about the promises and acts of speech that keep a society together.

moCa’s exhibition F as in Frank brings artists together to reflect on the power of being frank. Defined as the willingness to speak candidly, openly, and honestly, the word “frank” reinforces the power that comes from communicating directly and sincerely to address uncomfortable truths. Thinking through the exhibition framework in an expanded way the show unfolds slowly over time, raising poignant questions about love and loss, the construction of power, our environment, and what the future holds.

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