Over the past two decades, JR has expanded the meaning of public art through his ambitious projects that give visibility and agency to a broad spectrum of people around the world. Showcasing murals, photographs, videos, films, dioramas, and archival materials, JR: Chronicles is the first major exhibition in North America of works by the French-born artist. Working at the intersections of photography, social engagement, and street art, JR collaborates with communities by taking individual portraits, reproducing them at a monumental scale, and wheat pasting them—sometimes illegally—in nearby public spaces.
This soaring multimedia installation traces JR’s career from his early documentation of graffiti artists as a teenager in Paris to his large-scale architectural interventions in cities worldwide to his more recent digitally collaged murals that create collective portraits of diverse publics.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is The Chronicles of New York City, a new epic mural of more than one thousand New Yorkers that is accompanied by audio recordings of each person’s story.
All of the projects on view honor the voices of everyday people and demonstrate JR’s ongoing commitment to community, collaboration, and civic discourse.
In addition to works by JR presented at the Museum, a monumental public mural featuring The Chronicles of New York City is on view in Domino Park, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The project has been conceived in collaboration with LOT-EK, which designed Triangle STACK #2 to help bring JR’s mural into the city’s open space. JR’s murals are also on view at Kings Theatre in Flatbush and the Brooklyn Academy of Global Finance in Bedford-Stuyvesant, with more planned for the run of the exhibition.
JR: Chronicles is curated by Sharon Matt Atkins, Director of Exhibitions and Strategic Initiatives, and Drew Sawyer, Phillip Leonian, and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator, Photography, Brooklyn Museum.
About the Author
JR has the largest art gallery in the world. Thanks to his photographic collage technique, he exhibits his work free of charge on the walls of the whole world – attracting the attention of those who do not usually go to museums.
Originator of the 28 Millimeters Project which he started in and around Clichy-Montfermeil in 2004, continued in the Middle East with Face 2 Face (2007), in Brazil and Kenya for Women Are Heroes (2008-2011), the documentary for which was presented at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010 (Critics’ Week).
JR has created “Infiltrating art”. During his collage activities, the local communities take part in the act of artistic creation, with no stage separating actors from spectators. The anonymity of JR and the absence of any explanation accompanying his huge portraits leave him with a free space in which issues and actors, performers and passers-by meet, forming the essence of his work.
In 2011 he received the Ted Prize, giving him the opportunity to make a vow to change the world. He created Inside Out, an international participatory art project that allows people from around the world to receive a print of their portrait and then billboard it as support for an idea, a project, an action and share that experience.
In 2014, working with the New York City Ballet, he used the language of dance to tell his version of the riots in the Clichy-Montfermeil district. He created The Groves, a ballet and short film, the music for which was composed by Woodkid, Hans Zimmer and Pharrell Williams, and which was presented at the Tribeca Film Festival.
At the same time, JR worked in the abandoned hospital of Ellis Island, an important place in the history of immigration – and made the short film ELLIS, with Robert De Niro.
In 2016, JR was invited by the Louvre, whose pyramid he made disappear with the help of an astonishing anamorphosis. The same year, during the Olympic Games in Rio, he created gigantic new sculptural installations throughout the city, to underline the beauty of the sporting gesture.
In 2017, he co-directed with Agnès Varda “Faces, Place”s, screened the same year in the official selection out of competition for the Cannes Film Festival. The film won the Golden Eye (for best documentary) and was nominated for a Caesar and an Oscar in the same category in 2018. He has received other awards around the world.
In 2013, the first retrospectives of JR’s work took place in Tokyo (at the Watari-Um Museum) and the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center, followed by exhibitions at the Frieder Burda Museum in Baden Baden in 2014, and at the HOCA Foundation in Hong Kong in 2015. He exhibited in 2018 at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, and in 2019 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and the Brooklyn Museum.
JR is represented by Perrotin, PACE Gallery, Galleria Continua and Nara Roesler.