JR faces us with a line of immigrants, waiting. The archival image from Ellis Island is updated with Syrians’ portraits JR took at the Zaatari refugee camp. Like his recent image of baby Kikito along the U.S.-Mexican border, these supersized silhouettes are sited at a symbolic point of entry. Their scale, like the history and identity of this country, is impossible to ignore.
About the Artist
JR (1983, Paris, France) 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. 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. His recent projects include a collaboration with New York City Ballet, a feature documentary co-directed with Nouvelle Vague legend Agnès Varda, a huge installation on the Pantheon in Paris, the pasting of a container ship, the pyramid of the Louvre, a monumental mural “à la Diego Rivera” in the suburbs of Paris, giant scaffolding installations at the 2016 Rio Olympics, an exhibition on the abandoned hospital of Ellis Island or a gigantic installation at the US-Mexico border fence.