Here are five reasons why you should collect JR:
1. Known as the “Cartier-Bresson of the 21st century,” JR started out as a teenage graffiti artist in the Paris housing projects. After finding a photo camera in the subway station, he and his friends began documenting their street art. At age seventeen, he started photocopying these photos and printing them on outdoor walls like graffiti tags. Eventually, these photos would reach massive proportions, covering entire roofs and walls.
2. From 2004-2006, JR worked on Portraits of a Generation, large-scale photos of young people printed on the roofs and walls of the Paris housing projects they lived in. “In the street,” said JR, “we reach people who never go to museums.”
3. In 2011, JR won the $100,000 TED prize. He used this money to fund the Inside Out Project, which allows communities around the world to do multiple large-scale portraits of whoever they like.
4. He has shown work at the Louvre, at the Centre Pompidou, in Times Square, and at the 2016 Summer Olympics. He has also collaborated with mega-stars like Robin de Niro and Agnes Varda.
5. This year, in honor of the Louvre’s 30th anniversary, JR wheat pasted thousands of strips of paper around the structure to create an epic optical illusion:
6. Currently on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is JR’s “The Chronicles of San Francisco,” a digital mural that brings together the images and stories of nearly 12,000 people the artist encountered within the 22 “mobile studio” locations he set up across San Francisco’s multifaceted communities.
7. This Fall, Phaidon will release the revised and expanded edition of JR: Can Art Change the World?—the first major ind-depth monograph on the enigmatic photographer.