Inspired by the murals of Diego Rivera, French artist JR imagines how a whole city can be represented through art. The idea is to create a portrait of a city at a given moment.

  • The New York City Mural

    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 San Francisco Mural

    In January 2018, JR focused on San Francisco, a city very rich in contrasts, whose recent history could be told in a powerful way through a mural. San Francisco features immense innovation and wealth as well as one of the highest rates of child homelessness in the country. Furthermore, since the visit of Diego Rivera in 1931, San Francisco has a long muralist tradition. JR wanted to create both a still and a moving mural, capturing the nuances of the city at this moment in time. To do so, the artist and his team built a mobile studio inside a 53 ft trailer truck, and spent 5 weeks roaming the city, capturing over 1,200 portraits. The moving version mural will be installed on an LED wall at SFMOMA in 2019.

  • 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.

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  • About JR

    JR exhibits freely in the streets of the world, catching the attention of people who are not typical museum visitors. In 2006, he created Portrait of a Generation, portraits of suburban "thugs" that he posted, in huge formats, in the bourgeois districts of Paris. This illegal project became "official" when the Paris City Hall wrapped its building with JR’s photos. In 2007, with Marco, he made Face 2 Face, the biggest illegal exhibition ever. JR posted huge portraits of Israelis and Palestinians, face to face, in eight Palestinian and Israeli cities. In 2008, he embarked on a long international trip for Women Are Heroes, in which he underlines the dignity of women who are often the targets of conflicts, and created The Wrinkles of the City. In 2010, his film Women Are Heroes was presented at Cannes. In 2011, he received the TED Prize, after which he created Inside Out, an international participatory art project that allows people worldwide to get their pictures taken and pasted to support an idea and share their experiences.

    He has since created the Unframed project where images that exhibit the past of a neighborhood or city are interpreted and re-contextualized in present day through JR's pastings. In 2013, his film based off his project, Inside Out: The People's Art Project premiered at Tribeca Film Festival. Inside Out continued to grow with Photobooth trucks bringing the process directly to the streets in locations such as New York, Amsterdam, London, and Paris. As of December 2017, nearly 319,000 people from more than 140 countries have participated. In 2014, he collaborated with the New York City Ballet for their Art Series, and choreographed his own ballet based off his beginnings.

    As he remains anonymous and doesn’t explain his huge full-frame portraits of people making faces, JR leaves the space empty for an encounter between the subject/protagonist and the passer-by/interpreter. That is what JR's work is about, raising questions...


    More on: www.jr-art.net