An exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum looks at the career of French photographer and street artist JR, and includes a new mural of New York City featuring over 1,000 people, based on a project photographing and interviewing New Yorkers during the summer of 2018. JR started as a graffiti artist in Paris, where he was born in 1983 to Eastern European and Tunisian immigrant parents. He would find a camera in the Paris Metro in 2001 and start recording his friends making graffiti.
JR, photo of a graffiti artist in the early 2000s. Courtesy Brooklyn Museum
JR started pasting his photos onto building facades in the city, around 2001-4. He then worked on a project to paste portraits of young people from a housing project in a Paris suburb in the area and throughout Paris. There had been nationwide riots in 2005 related to socioeconomic tensions, and the aim was to show young people who often aren’t represented, or are misrepresented, in the media, the exhibition notes.
Along with the giant murals, a video is included in the exhibit that shows the development of the project and some of the participants. There are also audio recordings of each person’s story.