JR is a name many have heard; it is the name of a French street artist who is known for his global project, Inside Out. After winning the 2011 TED Prize, which granted him $100,000 to use towards “one wish to change the world,” JR launched Inside Out.
For the project, he let photograph subjects take the helm; participants took photos of themselves and upload them to the Inside Out website. JR’s studio then prints the black and white photos on 36” x 53” sheets of paper and mails them back to them to paste in their communities. Thousands of photos have been taken since 2011, pasted in locations all around the world.
JR says he wanted to “transform messages of personal identity into pieces of artistic work,” a project for which he calls himself “just the printer.”
Now the project is coming to NYC. Inside Out New York City has already started, with pictures of Superstorm Sandy victims decorating Times Square. But now there is a photo booth truck planted in Times Square, where anyone can take self-photos for the project. The finished portraits will decorate the ground of Duffy Square.
Again, JR’s role is just to print and paste the photos. “The subjects of JR’s work don’t serve his personal statement or message, but represent themselves,” writes Neil Callender in the Tokyo Art Beat. “In his use of the photo booth and his readiness to let others make the images, JR renounces the idea of himself as artist. Instead he has become like a curator; and the world is his gallery.”