The young artist, who only goes by JR, first started creating his enormous black-and-white photo murals in 2004, when he began the series “Portraits of a Generation.” That project featured portraits of young people living in Parisian housing projects, and was illegal at the outset, though it eventually earned the official blessing of the French capital.
His subsequent series, both legal and not, have engaged similarly politically charged issues. 2007’s “Face 2 Face” featured portraits of Arabs and Israelis facing each other across Israel’s security barrier. He turned his 2008 project “Women Are Heroes” into a feature-length documentary, which opened at Cannes to great acclaim.
After winning the TED Prize last year, JR embarked on his two most ambitious and international projects to date: “Wrinkles of the City,” which has already been presented in Cartegna, Spain, Shanghai, and Los Angeles, and will continue at next month’s Havana Biennial; and the crowd-source portraiture project “Inside Out.” His latest series, “Unframed,” reinterprets canonical photos from museum collections in his trademark blown-up, black and white style.
— Benjamin Sutton
(Image: JR, “Inside Out, Haiti,” courtesy the artist and Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery.)