Since the 1990s, Paul Ramirez Jonas has sought to challenge the relationship between artist, viewer, and artwork. Many of his projects invite viewer participation; in his most recent large public work, Public Trust asked participants to examine the value of their word, each individual declared a promise recorded in a drawing consistent with their beliefs. Whimsical and sincere, he thinks of his works as monuments rather than as sculptures — as situations that address a public, often without an author, and communicate collective ideals, histories, and dreams rather than the individual expression of the artist.
His selected solo exhibitions include The New Museum, NYC; Pinacoteca do Estado, Sao Paulo, Brazil; The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut; The Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas; a survey at Ikon Gallery (UK) and Cornerhouse (UK). He has participated in the 1st Johannesburg Biennale; the 1stSeoul Biennial; the 6th Shanghai Biennial; the 28th Sao Paulo Biennial; the 53rd Venice Biennial and the 7th Bienal do Mercosul , Porto Alegre, Brazil. In 2010 his Key to the City project was presented by Creative Time in cooperation with the City of New York. In 2016 his Public Trust project was presented by Now & There in Boston. The Contemporary Art Museum Houston presented a 25 year survey of his work in 2017. He is currently an Associate Professor at Hunter College, CUNY.