JR: Chronicles is on exhibit at The Brooklyn Museum through May 3, 2020.
By Rachel M.
This exceptional exhibition chronicles the work of JR, street artist, photographer, filmmaker extraordinaire. It features his most iconic projects from the past fifteen years. A massive display, it takes up over 20,000 square feet of the museum’s Great Hall and includes the premiere of a new monumental mural, The Chronicles of New York City.
JR is a TED Prize winner, Oscar-nominated filmmaker and one of Time’s 100 most influential people of 2018. His global art projects bring together diverse groups of participants and create dialogue around critical social issues. He spotlights communities around the world by photographing individuals in these locales and then wheat pasting large images of them (sometimes illegally) at a monumental scale in public spaces.
Examples of these projects make up the majority of the exhibit. Portrait of a Generation (2004-6) features young people from a housing project in a suburb of Paris that was the scene of rioting. The portraits were hung throughout Paris to bring attention to the misrepresentation of these youth in the media. Face 2 Face (200&0 featured giant portrait diptychs of Israelis and Palestinians pasted on both sides of the separation wall and in eight cities. The pairs – one Israeli and one Palestinian – were displayed without identifiers. It was the largest illegal photography exhibition ever made in Israel. Women are Heroes (2008-9) installed large scale images of women’s eyes and faces in their own communities. One of the most striking collections, The Wrinkles of the City (2008-15) is a multicity project celebrating the oldest members of society.
The recent video mural The Gun Chronicles: A Story of America (2018) is a huge work that visualizes the multiplicity of views on guns in America. In front of the mural are computer stands that allow the viewer to read about the participants and their views.
Debuting is a collective portrait of New Yorkers that tells both the story of individuals and of the city. In the summer of 2018, JR and his team went all over NYC with their 53-foot trailer capturing photographs of anyone who would participate. The conglomeration of more than 1,000 photographs makes up The Chronicles of New York City. It’s meant to be looked both at scale and in detail at the same time.
With the combination of dioramas, films, quotes, and large photographs the curators have done a magnificent job capturing JR’s contribution to the world of public art. The impact of these pieces is seen only in person – worth taking a trip to Brooklyn (plus you can still see the Pierre Cardin exhibit through January).
More information and tickets at https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/