In 2017, JR embarked on a new mural series aiming to represent neighborhoods and cities, through hundreds of portraits. After Clichy-Montfermeil (a French suburb near Paris) and San Francisco, the French artist is pointing his camera at New York City.
Home to 8.5 million inhabitants, New York is the most populated city in the US. It is also the most diverse city in the world when it comes to linguistic multiplicity, with a total of 800 languages spoken across all five boroughs. New York is a mosaic of neighborhoods, in which different groups coexist. JR has a long history of working in this emblematic city. In 2014, he was invited to work in the abandoned part of Ellis Island, creating an installation, which brought alive, through the use of archival images, the memory of millions of immigrants who came from all over the world and shaped the modern American identity. That same year, he collaborated with the New York City Ballet.
New York City is also home to the Inside Out Project, a global participatory art project created by JR, after he won the TED Prize in 2011. It only made sense, for the third chapter of the Mural Project, that JR decides to park his truck in New York City, and tries to capture the diversity of its neighborhoods and the people that make New York one of the greatest cities in the world.
The Chronicles of Clichy-Montfermeil
In 2017, for the first stage of the project JR and his team spent weeks in the Parisian suburb of Les Bosquets, and photographed over 750 people, one by one, on a green screen. Every subject was shot in the same light and represented at the same scale: this way everyone is as important as the others, from the Mayor to the street kids. The result is a gigantic mural named Chronicles of Clichy-Montfermeil, which was presented at Palais de Tokyo, in Paris and permanently installed in the neighborhood of Clichy-Montfermeil.