Friday, March 17, 2023

Paul Ramírez Jonas | Key to the City

Using the same subject matter as Jon Sasaki (see the post previous to last), Ithaca-based artist Paul Ramírez Jonas’s Key to the City is an elaborate work first made with Creative Time curator Nato Thompson and currently on it's fifth iteration. 

In the summer of 2010, Ramírez Jonas worked with the city of New York to replace 24 city locks so that they could all be opened with a single key. The artist then bestowed these "keys to the city" (a civic ornamental honour typically reserved for visiting celebrities and dignitaries) to everyday citizens. 

The participants, which numbered in the thousands, were encouraged to use their 'master' keys to access sites spread across the five boroughs, ranging from community gardens and cemeteries to restaurants, police stations and museums. The work becomes a portrait of the city, while also exploring notions of the trust, access and belonging. 

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