JR à la Galerie Perrotin, 2015
22 February 1983
|Known for||Street art, photography, graffiti|
|Notable work||Inside Out Project|
JR (born 22 February 1983) is the pseudonym of a French photographer and artist whose identity is unconfirmed. Describing himself as a photograffeur, he flyposts large black-and-white photographic images in public locations, in a manner similar to the appropriation of the built environment by the graffiti artist. He states that the street is "the largest art gallery in the world". He started out on the streets of Paris. JR's work "often challenges widely held preconceptions and the reductive images propagated by advertising and the media."
JR's work combines art and action, and deals with commitment, freedom, identity and limits. He has been introduced by Fabrice Bousteau as: "the one we already call the Cartier-Bresson of the 21st century". On 20 October 2010, JR won the TED Prize for 2011. He used the $100,000 award money to start the Inside Out Project.
- 1 Life and career
- 2 Critical reception
- 3 Works
- 4 Feature films
- 5 Exhibitions
- 6 Awards
- 7 Publications
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Life and career
JR began his career as a teenage graffiti artist who was by his own admission not interested in changing the world, but in making his mark on public space and society. His graffiti efforts often targeted precarious places like rooftops and subway trains, and he enjoyed the adventure of going to and painting in these spaces. After finding a camera in the Paris Metro, JR and his friends began to document the act of his graffiti painting. At the age of 17, he began applying photocopies of these photographs to outdoor walls.
JR later travelled throughout Europe to meet other people whose mode of artistic expression involved the use of outdoor walls. Then, he began wondering about the vertical limits, the walls and the façades that structure cities. After observing the people he met and listening to their message, JR pasted their portraits up in the streets and basements and on the roof tops of Paris.
Between 2004 and 2006, JR created Portraits of a Generation, portraits of young people from the housing projects around Paris that he exhibited in huge format. This illegal project became official when the City of Paris put JR’s photos up on buildings. At the beginning of his projects, JR wanted to bring art into the street: "In the street, we reach people who never go to museums."
In 2007, with Marco, JR put up enormous photos of Israelis and Palestinians face to face in eight Palestinian and Israeli cities on either side of the Separation Barrier. Upon his return to Paris, he pasted these portraits up in the capital. For the artist, this artistic act is first and foremost a human project: "The heroes of the project are all those who, on both sides of the wall, allowed me to paste the portraits on their houses."
In 2008, JR undertook an international tour for Women Are Heroes, a project in which he highlights the dignity of women who are often targets during conflicts.
On 20 October 2010, JR won the TED Prize for 2011. He used the $100,000 award money to start the Inside Out Project, a global art initiative that has allowed thousands of people around the world to speak to their communities through portraits pasted in public space. This prize brought him and his work to New York City where he opened another studio, and inspired pastings in the area such as those done in 2011 of members of the Lakota Native American Tribe from North Dakota.
In 2013, he continued working in New York City, with the Inside Out Project in Times Square, which challenged advertising with a massive work of art consisting of thousands of portraits of locals and tourists.
In January 2014, JR collaborated with the New York City Ballet for their second annual Art Series program, by exhibiting work in the theatre in Lincoln Center, including an interactive piece on the floor of the promenade. This collaboration led JR to explore the artistic medium of choreography in another project with the ballet months later.
JR calls himself an "urban artivist", he creates pervasive art that he puts up on the buildings in the Paris area projects, on the walls of the Middle East, on the broken bridges of Africa or in the favelas of Brazil. During the pasting phase, community members take part in the artistic process. In Brazil, for example, children became artists for a week. In these artistic acts, no scene separates the actors from the spectators.
After having exhibited in the cities from which JR’s subjects came, the photos traveled from New York to Berlin, Amsterdam to Paris  As JR remains anonymous and does not frame his huge portraits, he leaves a space for an encounter between a subject/protagonist and a passerby/interpreter, and this is the essence of his work.
In 2010, during a radio program in San Diego, California, artist Shepard Fairey stated: "JR is the most ambitious street artist working." Le Monde has described his work as "revealing humanity."
JR considers himself as "neither a street artist nor a photographer". To carry out his projects, he uses photography but also video, prints on paper or tarpaulins, urban spaces, books and especially social links. JR noted "I would like to bring art to improbable places, create projects so huge with the community that they are forced to ask themselves questions. I want to try to create images of hot spots such as the Middle East or Brazil that offer different points of view from the ones we see in the worldwide media which are often caricatures."
Portraits of a Generation
The Portraits of a Generation project constitutes the first stage of the 28 mm project. After the first unauthorized exhibit on the walls of the Cité des Bosquets housing project, JR returned and set himself up of this housing project and the neighbouring one, the Cité de la Forestière, both in the epicenter of the 2005 riots in the French suburbs. The first portraits were rapidly exhibited on the walls of the last popular neighbourhoods of the capital, in the east of Paris. These photos provoked the passerby in as much as they questioned the social and media representation of a whole generation that for some is only to be seen relegated to the outskirts of the capital.
The Face2Face project tried to show that beyond what separates them, Israelis and Palestinians are enough alike to be able to understand one another. Israeli and Palestinian men and women who have the same jobs accepted to laugh or cry, to scream or pull faces in front of JR’s lens. The portraits created were pasted up face to face, in monumental format on either side of the Separation Wall and in several surrounding towns. JR photographed and Marco wrote, together succeeding in creating the largest unauthorized 20 urban art exhibit in the world (la plus grande exposition d'art urbain au monde). The project’s goal was to show through images that art and laughter combined can break down prejudice.
The film Faces, directed by Gerard Maximin, about this artistic undertaking carried out in the Middle East by JR and Marco has won numerous prizes.
Women are Heroes
For this project, JR slipped into fantasmatic places, the ones seen on TV when there is violence, the ones an observer might go close to but never enter and that will not be found on any tourist guidebook tour. Women are Heroes introduces women who sometimes look death in the face, who go from laughter to tears, who are generous, have nothing and yet share, who have had a painful past and long to build a happy future. In seeking what is common in their gaze, JR tried to get closer to what is universal: the human being. This project allowed him to keep the promise he made to these women: faire voyager leur histoire (to make their story travel). Women are Heroes has traveled to locations including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Kenya, Brazil, India, and Cambodia. In 2014, JR made one final project for Women Are Heroes with the dockers of Le Havre, France. Imaging a woman’s eyes from the previous trip in Kenya, JR and his team completed the largest pasting to date on shipping containers that were then stacked on a barge traveling the world to Malaysia. In doing so, he finally took the women’s stories around the globe.
Wrinkles of the City
The Los Surcos de la Ciudad project (The Wrinkles of the City) is based on the encounter between JR, the city of Cartagena, Spain, and its oldest inhabitants who are taken as the memory incarnate of the city, marked by the scars of its history, economic expansion and socio-cultural mutations. While meeting and photographing the elderly, JR imaged their wrinkles, the furrows of their brows, as the marks of time, the traces of their lives that are linked with the history of the city.
For JR, these older people are the living memory of a city changing faster than they themselves age. For him, every one of their wrinkles and each day that goes by are inscribed in the buildings and in the streets of old Cartagena that provided JR with a heterogeneous architecture.
As of 2015, The Wrinkles of the City project has reached Shanghai, China, Los Angeles, California, Havana, Cuba, Berlin, Germany and Istanbul, Turkey.
Inside Out Project
The Inside Out Project is a large-scale participatory art project that transforms messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work in the form of black and white photographic portraits. The images are uploaded digitally and made into posters and sent back to the project’s co-creators for them to exhibit in their own communities. Over 150,000 people from more than 108 countries have participated.
In 2013, the project created a massive exhibit in Times Square in Manhattan that challenged advertising with art created from thousands of portraits of locals and tourists. The effort to engage New Yorkers across the five boroughs after Hurricane Sandy, was completed using one of the Inside Out Project Photobooth trucks. This method created by JR produced a more direct connection of his work to the streets through an immediate interaction with the community and the people. The Photobooth trucks have since traveled around the world for a variety of different causes, including a nationwide tour that brought attention to immigration reform in America, and a 10-stop trip to major monuments in France ending with a large installation in the Pantheon in Paris.
Unframed is an ongoing project that began in 2010, realized using images by famous or anonymous photographers, and archival images that JR interpreted and took out of their context depending on the place, neighborhood, or city he worked in. In works such as those made in May 2013 in Marseille, France, JR dug into the identity of the neighborhood of la Belle de Mai, and invited its inhabitants to think about the memory of their streets by looking into their personal photo albums. The photographs, old or new, cropped or enlarged, create monumental artworks on the facades of neighborhoods and transform personal and multiple footprints of what is part of the city's history and collective memory. JR has exhibited Unframed works in Cincinnati, Marseille, Atlanta, Washington DC, Baden Baden, Grottaglie, Vevey, and São Paulo.
In 2014, JR continued his Unframed project on Ellis Island, using photos from when the island operated as the entryway for millions of immigrants to America. These archival images were installed into the facades and walls of the abandoned hospital on the grounds that once housed the sick and dying.
In 2014, JR collaborated with the New York City Ballet for their second annual Art Series program. JR exhibited artworks in the Lincoln Center David H. Koch theatre in January and February, including a large installation of an interactive piece on the floor of the promenade. This work followed his model of engaging with his fans and the public across social divides, connecting ballet patrons to first time attendees with the image of the life-size ballerinas on the ground.
The Art Series led to further collaborations between the artist and the New York City Ballet, as months later he explored a new artistic medium of choreography. JR worked with the company's ballet master in chief Peter Martins to create a piece titled Les Bosquets based on his beginnings during the 2005 riots in the Parisian suburbs. For this project, the dancers became his paper and his works were transformed to the stage.
JR transferred his Women Are Heroes project to the cinema in directing a feature film made up of images of the pasting phase of the installations and interviews of the women. Through this documentary film, the artist shows us how he installed the portraits of the women in urban spaces and the reactions of the inhabitants. He explains "this film gathers the images and the words of the women he met, the day to day flow of their lives and experiences to create, through art, a reality different from the one shown in the media".
This first film was part of the Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival in 2010. It was programmed in during La Semaine de la Critique (International Critics’ Week), and competed for the Caméra d'Or. In May 2010, JR was invited to present his film on Le Grand Journal on Canal+ in Cannes during the festival.
JR's second film, Inside Out: The People's Art Project, is a documentary that tracks the evolution of the biggest participatory art project in the world, Inside Out. JR inspired communities to define their most important causes with displays of giant black and white portraits pasted in the street. The project encourages citizens to take ownership of walls that were previously restricted and in doing so testing the limits of what they thought was possible. It is a Social Animals production in association with Notting Hill Films, directed by Alastair Siddons.
This film was featured as an official Documentary Feature Spotlight selection at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival, premiered at the SVA Theatre on West 23rd Street, on Saturday, April 20 and debuted on HBO in May 2013.
In 2015, JR made the movie Les Bosquets inspired by the riots in the French suburbs in 2005 and featuring the performance of the ballet Les Bosquets of New York City Ballet (2014).
The same year, he directed the short film titled Ellis, starring Robert De Niro.
- Paris - Artcurial.
- Venice Biennale, Arsenal.
- Amsterdam - Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam.
- Arles, France - Rencontres d'Arles.
- Berlin - Artitud.
- London - Tate Modern.
- Cartagena, Spain.[vague]
- Geneva - Musée Rath.
- Brussels, Belgium.[vague]
- Paris, France, Ile Saint-Louis - Pavillon de l'Arsenal, Mairie du 4e arr.
- Arles, France - Rencontres d'Arles.
- Rio de Janeiro, Brasil - Casa França Brasil.
- Shanghai, China – Contemporary Art Biennal.
- Shanghai, China – Gallery Magda Danysz – The Wrinkles of the City
- Vevey, Switzerland – Elysée Museum – Festival Images.
- San Diego, CA - Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
- Los Angeles, CA – Pop up Gallery, Downtown.
- Düsseldorf, Germany – Springmann Gallery.
- Cannes Film Festival – Projection of Women Are Heroes (May 18).
- Miami, FL - Art Basel, Emmanuel Perrotin Gallery, "Wall and Papers".
- Paris, France - Emmanuel Perrotin Gallery, "Encrages".
- JR's film, Women Are Heroes released in movie theaters.
- Paris - Centre Pompidou– exhibition and Inside Out Project Photobooth Installation.
- Los Angeles, CA - Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles – Art In the Streets.
- Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - "Emirati Expressions".
- Arles, France - Rencontres d'Arles – exhibition and evening show (Théâtre Antique Arles).
- Vevey, Switzerland - Images Festival.
- Hong Kong, China - Emmanuel Perrotin Gallery.
- Tokyo, Japan - Watari-Um Museum.
- Berlin, Germany – Springmann Gallery.
- Marseille, France – Friche La Belle de Mai.
- New York, New York – Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, The Wrinkles of the City: Havana, Cuba with José Parlá.
- New York, New York – Inside Out Project installation and Photobooth in Times Square.
- Cincinnati, OH – Contemporary Arts Center 
- Baden Baden, Germany – Museum Frieder Burda.
- Paris - Au Panthéon! An installation by JR from collected 2,500 selfies/portraits collected during the month of March 2014 with his traveling photo booth truck across France and the world, displayed for his artwork at the newly restored Pantheon in Paris, France; a secular temple in Paris where the famous are buried.
- Dallas - Dallas Contemporary.
- Shanghai - Magda Danysz Gallery.
- Shanghai - Power Station of Art.
- Hong Kong - HOCA: Inside Out Project, JR: a survey exhibition.
- Hong Kong - Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin.
- Boston, MA - translucent pasting on glass of the John Hancock Tower, spanning from the 44th to the 50th floors
- Malaga, Spain - CAC.
- Paris - Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin.
- Lille, France - Tri Postal.
- Toronto - Nuit Blanche.
- London - Lazarides.
- Tokyo - Watari-Um Museum.
- Paris - Centre Pompidou.
- Paris - Louvre. From May 25 to June 27, JR transformed the Louvre Pyramid using one of his anamorphic images.  When seen from the right angle, the Pyramid seemed to disappear.
Prizes attributed to the film Faces by Gerard Maximin on the Face2Face project by JR and Marco:
|IDFA||Amsterdam||Netherlands||Joris Ivens Selection|
|FIFDH||Geneva||Switzerland||Special Mention of the Jury|
|Open Doek Festival||Turnhout||Belgium||Documentary Film Award|
|International Festival of Muslim Films||Kazan||Russia||Documentary Film Award|
|Festival Europeen 4 Ecrans||Paris||France||5 Nominations|
|FFDPM – Human Rights Festival||Montreal||Canada||Festival Prize|
|CMCA – Film Méditerannéen||Marseille||France||Art and Culture Award|
|CMCA – Film Méditerannean||Marseille||France||TV5 Monde Award|
- 2013: free app includes photographs and videos of all JR's international projects, with interactive features.
- Carnet de Rue, Edition Free Presse, 2004.
- Portraits of a Generation, Editions Alternatives, 2005.
- Face 2 Face, Editions Alternatives, 2007.
- JR / 28 Millimeters, a journey through JR's 28 mm projects, Editions Lazarides Gallery, London, 2008.
- JR, Editions Pyramyd, 2009.
- Women are Heroes by JR, Editions Alternatives, 2009.
- "The Wrinkles of the City: Shanghai", Drago, 2011.
- "Women are Heroes", Harry N. Abrams, 2012.
- "The Wrinkles of the City: Los Angeles" by JR and Louise Berrebi, Drago, 2012. ibook version released 2013
- "JR & José Parlá: The Wrinkles of the City, Havana, Cuba" Damiani/Standard Press; Bilingual edition, 2013.
Books with contributions by JR
- Outsiders, Art by People. Century, 2008. Compiled by Steve Lazarides.
- Qu’est ce que la photographie. Paris: Beaux Arts / TTM, 2009.
- 60 Innovators Shaping our Creative Future. London: Thames & Hudson, 2009.
- Beyond the Street, The 100 Leading Figures in Urban Art. Gestalten, 2010.
- Instaphotographers 2014. Jérémy Leclerc, 2014.
- The Standing March (2015)
- "Meet JR: Video interview and FAQ about the 2011 TED Prize winner". TED Blog. 20 October 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- Kennedy, Randy (19 October 2010). "Award to Artist Who Gives Slums a Human Face". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 October 2010.
- Notice d'autorité de la Bibliothèque nationale de France.
- Elizabeth Day ""The street art of JR", The Observer, 7 March 2010.
- Full Interview "The largest gallery in the world". Excerpts from an interview of the artist broadcast on France 2 on the 1 pm news, July 20, 2009
- "JR's street art from around the world" The Daily Telegraph, accessed, 26 October 2010
- Unattributed, "Street Art." Tate Modern, accessed, 6 June 2016.
- Excerpts from the book Women Are Heroes published by Alternatives, 2009. ISBN 978-2-86227-613-7
- Excerpts from an interview of the artist published in Beaux Arts magazine, October 2009 ISSN 0757-2271
- From 2011 TED Prize wish speech in March 2011
- Excerpts from the book Carnet de Rue (My Street Diary) published by Free Press, 2005 ISBN 2-915573-01-8
- Full Excerpts from an interview of the artist broadcast on France 2 on the 1 pm news, August 6, 2007.
- Excerpts from the article Déclic Urbain published in L'Express, November 17 – 23, 2005, n°2837
- Marc Berrebi called Marco contributed to the project Face 2 Face in the Middle East in collaboration with JR. Interview with Marco.
- He created Face2Face, la plus grande expo photo illégale jamais créée
- Excerpts from the book Face2Face published by Alternatives in 2007. ISBN 978-2-86227-527-7
- Les héros du projet sont tous ceux qui des deux côtés du mur, m'ont autorisé à coller sur leur maison
- Excerpts from the article JR s'affiche à Paris published in L'Express November 15, 2007 Full Article
- Excerpts from a report about the artist’s work in the favela Moro da Providencia in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. Broadcast on TV5, September 25, 2008. Full Report.
- Excerpts from the essay Avis à la population! written by Christian Caujolle and published in the book Women Are Heroes published by Alternatives in 2009. (ISBN 978-2-86227-613-7)
- Excerpts from an interview of the artist broadcast on TV5 July 20, 2009. Full Interview
- Excerpts from the essay Art Participatif (Participative Art) written by Christian Caujolle and published in the book Women Are Heroes published by Alternatives in 2009. (ISBN 978-2-86227-613-7)
- Full article "L'Ile Saint Louis nous regarde" ("L’Ile Saint-Louis Is Looking at Us") published in Libération 24 October 2009.
- Interview of the artist broadcast on France 2, lon the 1 pm news, August 6, 2007.
- "I think at this point JR is the most ambitious street artist working" Propos extrait d'une interview sur KPBS, la Radio de San Diego avec JR, Shepard Fairey et Pedro Alonzo pour l'exposition du Musée d'art Contemporain de San Diego MCASDFull Interview Le 15 juillet 2010).
- Excerpts from the article JR les femmes vues du ciel published in le Monde 1 October 2009. Full article
- Propos extraits de l'essai Dans la tradition du portrait rédigé par Françoise Docquiert et publié dans l'ouvrage Women are Heroes paru aux éditions Alternatives en 2009. ISBN 978-2-86227-613-7
- Excerpts from the book Portrait d'une génération (Portrait of a Generation) published in 2006 by Alternatives ISBN 2-86227-502-6
- "Portraits d'une Génération: Par JR et Ladj Ly". 28 millimètres. 2006. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- Affichage sauvage (Unauthorized posting) Excerpts from the article Photo-Sniper published in the special edition Spécial à coller of Libération 17 November 2007 (n° 8252) Full Article
- "Face2Face, Israelis and Palestinians – Portraits of twins brothers". Face2faceproject.com. 2007. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- "Women are Heroes". Womenareheroes.be. 2008. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- "Extract from the film Women are Heroes". Dai.ly. 26 September 2009. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- JR's website
- (ref: http://www.jr-art.net/news/women-are-heroes-on-a-container-ship-in-le-havre)
- Excerpts from and interview of the inhabitants of Cartagena who participated in the Los surcos de la ciudad project in 2008. Video
- Excerpts from the Inside Out project webpage explaining the motive behind the globally public art project.
- Khatchadourian, Raffi. "I Shot JR: A French Street Artist at Work".
- The numbers so far homepage of the Inside Out Project
- New York Times's article
- Inside Out project
- Save Ellis Island
- List of feature films competing for the Golden Camera award Cannes 2010
- World Première of the Film Women are Heroes International Critics’ Week, Cannes 2010.
- Excerpt from Le Grand Journal during an interview of the artist. 19 May 2010. Video.
- "JR / Exposition Paris 2009 – Ile Saint Louis". Dai.ly. 25 February 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- "The Wrinkles of the City by JR | Galerie Magda Danysz". magda-gallery.com. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
- Smee, Sebastian (September 25, 2015). "With Hancock piece, the public gets an imposing and intriguing gift". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2015-09-25.
- "JR at the Louvre". Louvre. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
- Georgia, McCafferty (25 May 2016). "Disappearing act? Artist JR hides the Louvre in plain sight". CNN. Retrieved 8 June 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to JR (artist).|
- Official website
- Official project Site for 28 millimètres
- Women Are Heroes Official site for the film.
- JR at TED
- Galerie Lazarides JR profile
- Galerie Springmann, Dusseldorf
- Galerie Magda Danysz, Shanghaï
- "The Lithographies" (work by JR) on the site Social Animals
- Le Blog Libération
- "The street art of JR" The Guardian, 7 March 2010.
- "JR: The hippest street artist since Banksy" The Times, 15 February 2009.
- In your face for peace! – LensCulture, 7 July 2007.
- "JR uses images to challenge stereotypes" The Washington Post, 23 October 2006.