JR's Installation of "Chronicles" is Taking Over Brooklyn

If you haven’t heard the name “JR” before, you should google him. He’s one of the biggest names in visual art out there right now and has become well-known for his public installations and massive murals showcasing photographs of everyday people. Taking a step away from the streets, JR just opened his newest in house installation on Friday, October 4 at the Brooklyn Museum. 

After having his first solo gallery show in New York in July of 2018, this exhibition in the Brooklyn Museum is his biggest US installation yet. It includes various works of his from the last two decades, however, it doesn’t come close to covering the vast amount of work he’s made in his lifetime. The gallery opened to crowds of thousands of New Yorkers and people from around the world on Friday, including many well-known names such as Chris Rock and Jake Gyllenhaal. The highlight of the exhibit is the giant mural “The Chronicles of New York City” featuring over 1,000 diverse New Yorkers. 

Photo credit: JR Art

JR is known for his unique style of art in which he combines photography, street art, and social messages. He photographs portraits of the ‘invisible’: everyday people who tend to go unnoticed or are typically underrepresented. He sets up his street art in various places, ranging from the front steps of the Louvre Museum in Paris, to a favela (unregulated, politically neglected lower-income neighborhood) in Brazil, and the US-Mexico border. The 36-year-old French artist got his start photographing young Parisians in the suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois in the early 2000s. Now he continues to photograph similar subjects, showcasing them around the world. 

Photo credit: News Artnet

JR is also known for is work across mediums. He has worked on many films, both in small and large scale roles. His most famous contribution to cinema was his 2017 film Faces Places, which he co-directed with the late Agnès Varda. The film was nominated for the 2017 Best Documentary Picture. JR had been very close to Varda before her passing last March. The two had traveled many places together, including many other film sets. JR made many murals in honor of Varda, depicting her portraits as well as her toes. He also made a cardboard cut-out (and perhaps a few) of Varda, which he would travel with, taking photos of the cut-out in unusual places, as well as tying balloons to it and flying it through the Parisian skyline. The pair were also known for their unique physical attributes; Varda, her two-toned bowl cut, and JR, his signature hat and sunglasses.

JR may be one of the most influential artists of the present day, constantly growing his oeuvre and the vast amount of strange places his art is showcased. His exhibit in the Brooklyn Museum will be on display until May 3, 2020.

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