Thursday 09/07/17 7PM
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Conversations · Exhibition-Related

Between Illegality and Personhood

Cover Image:

“Paul Ramirez Jonas: Half-Truths,” 2017. Exhibition view: New Museum, New York. Photo: Scott Rudd

For this two-part program, Paul Ramírez Jonas is joined by youth facilitators of the participatory works in his New Museum exhibition and residency “Paul Ramírez Jonas: Half-Truths,” as well as artist Guadalupe Maravilla (formally known as Irvin Morazan), to explore personhood within bureaucratic structures of identification.

A multidisciplinary artist born in El Salvador who migrated alone to the Unites States at the age of eight amidst the Salvadoran Civil War, Maravilla utilizes performance, sculpture, and video to explore fictional and autobiographical rituals that are sparked by current events. During a performative talk accompanied by traditional Mariachi music of love and loss, Maravilla will share his life story. This narrative includes his migration, his experience living in the US as an undocumented child, his participation in a boy band, his spirituality, and surviving cancer. The artist recently reclaimed his original birth name, Guadalupe, and adopted Maravilla, his undocumented father’s fake last name, as his own.

Following Maravilla’s talk, Ramírez Jonas and the youth facilitators involved with “Paul Ramírez Jonas: Half Truths” will reflect on the collaborative and creative experience of enunciating possibilities and limitations of self-determined constructions of identity within those imposed by state, corporate, and social systems. They will focus on Fake ID (2017), a participatory piece in which visitors empty their pockets of materials containing information that determines currency, credit, access, membership, and citizenship status. Through a process of trust, exchange, and inquiry with each participant, the facilitator deconstructs photocopies of their documents—school IDs, transportation passes, credit cards, and licenses—to create a new identification card. As part of a summer internship program, facilitators met regularly with Ramírez Jonas and New Museum educators throughout the summer months to reflect on the process, revise approaches, and expand on themes in the work, through personal, political, and creative investigations.


“Paul Ramírez Jonas: Half-Truths” is made possible through support provided by the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation.

Artist commissions at the New Museum are generously supported by the Neeson / Edlis Artist Commissions Fund.

Artist residencies are made possible, in part, by Laurie Wolfert.

Additional support is provided by the Toby Devan Lewis Emerging Artists Exhibitions Fund.

Further exhibition support is provided, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund, and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

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