Brooklyn Museum | New York, USA
From October the 4th, 2019 to August the 31st, 2020
JR: Chronicles is the monumental exhibition presented at the Brooklyn Museum in New York under the leadership of Director Anne Pasternak, that collects some of the most iconic public projects of the last fifteen years of the French artist JR’s career, curated by Drew Sawyer (Curator, Photography) and Sharon Matt Atkins (Director of Exhibitions).
Famous for his commitment to communities and for questioning institutions of power, JR (Paris 1982) reinvented the photographic medium by making wise use of images and his narrative skills, recognizing the merit of having expanded the meaning of public art through ambitious projects. Works that have given visibility to a wide spectrum of people around the world thanks to the close collaboration that the artist establishes with people by taking portraits, reproducing them on a monumental scale and pasting them, sometimes illegally, in public spaces close to areas of interest.
As stated eloquently by the curators Sawyer and Matt Atkins in the catalogue of the exhibition: “JR has emerged as one of the most powerful storytellers and connectors of our time. Working at the intersections of photography, social engagement, and street art, he creates site-specific, public interventions that bring together varied groups of individuals to counter representations in the media and engage with critical social issues around the globe.”
An incredible showcase of photographs, dioramas, books, films and videos of the artist’s installations, are on display until August 31st 2020 at the Brooklyn Museum which demonstrates how JR’s practice has succeeded both in capturing the imagination of the public around the world and in expanding the meaning of public art through participatory projects. On display, in addition to the comprehensive catalog JR Chronicles , are the two volumes that Drago has published for JR’s The Wrinkles of the City project: The Wrinkles of the City in Shanghai and The Wrinkles of the City in Los Angeles.
The first section of the exhibition traces JR’s artistic evolution, focusing on his commitment to community, collaboration and civic discourse. We can see his early photographic projects including Expo 2 Rue (2001–4) and other international ones including Women Are Heroes (2008-2019), which honors the contribution of women to public life by installing large-scale images of their eyes and faces in their own communities, and Inside Out (2011-ongoing), a global participatory art project that allows people to take and share their portraits.
On display there is also an installation that JR conceived when in 2018 he collaborated with Time to carry out the investigation around the possession of firearms in the United States. He portrayed 245 people, the goal was to bring together a variety of voices in search of common ground on one of the nation’s most controversial topics.
JR: Chronicles also marks the debut of a new mural, The Chronicles of New York City, a 21 by 32 meter work that portrays around 1,200 people photographed and interviewed in all five neighborhoods of New York for six weeks, between May and June 2018. JR and his team led their mobile studio to approach potential subjects on the street. Based on the legacy of Diego Rivera’s murals, JR imagines how the entire city of New York can be represented through art, creating a collective portrait while telling the unique story of each individual. The work is interactive: thanks to an application installed near the work, it is possible to listen the audio recordings of each person portrayed.
Installation view, JR: Chronicles, Brooklyn Museum, October 04, 2019 – May 03, 2020. (Photo: Jonathan Dorado)
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.