Jack Ramunni is a graduating senior at the Columbus College of Art and Design, a school with a sclerotic curriculum geared toward producing graphic designers for local corporations, a place where “fine art” tends to begin and end at object-based art-making for commercial galleries. Ramunni, using this restrictive background as a catalyst, instigated an array of projects aimed at redefining what contemporary art is and what we should expect it to do.
Ramunni and Nikki Skrinak have coined the term “Social Heat” to describe the intent of his artwork. Social Heat is:
“…the spontaneous transfer of energy from one body, group of individuals, or larger social system to another due to a multiplicity of connections and modes of communication.”
Ramunni uses a variety of methods to achieve this goal. In Sweater Shoppe, he reworked the logic of the market system by co-founding a trade-based pop-up “store” replete with its own currency; with Late Lunch Live, a weekly USTREAM cooking show, Ramunni turned the banal activity of making lunch into free community entertainment; in EX-PDF Library, he exchanged lithographed bookmarks for PDF files from the public, which he printed out and made available in a public library; in Benches Gallery, Ramunni created a portable gallery for showcasing artwork in public spaces, excising commercial concerns from the gallery experience.
Throughout the year, while these projects were happening, Ramunni’s “studio,” Heat Space, was a site of “energized inquiry,” as yet another project was called, where collaborators could come and make One-Hour Publications – zines that had all of their contents made in an hour; or participate in a running discussion group titled We Are Trying To Figure Out What We Are Doing Here, a philosophical discussion and critique of the axioms art schools are based on; and submit artwork to the Heat Space Art Collection, an art museum in the form of an art storage rack.
Before creating artwork in the mode of social practice and/or relational aesthetics, Ramunni worked with more traditional mediums of performance, sculpture, installation, painting, and video. In addition, he played drums in the hardcore band Horrible Creeps. Ramunni also designs flyers, many for shows he curates at Skylab Gallery or the Canzani Center, like the recent BYOB (Bring Your Own Beamers (projectors)) event, or the on-going exhibitions by the artist collective Art Bong. Ramunni’s flyers often seem like elaborate jokes about terrible commercial graphic design; they’re flush with cockeyed compositions, club fonts, garish colors, and nonsensical imagery, but Ramunni is able to make them coalesce into an attractive and coherent whole, while still retaining a layer of humorous, ironic removal.
On April 27th, 2012, at 6 p.m., Ramunni is holding a closing reception for his senior thesis show, FREER, which collects eight months of projects from Heat Space, at the DSB Gallery at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, Ohio. Much of the artwork seen after the jump will be on display.