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Release Date: Mar 27, 2013

Times Square will Act as a Cultural Hub, Engaging All Five Boroughs in a

Participatory Art Project

(NEW YORK, N.Y.)Times Square Arts, the public arts program of the Times Square Alliance, welcomes French artist JR’s global initiative INSIDE OUT PROJECT, a large-scale participatory art project he started in 2011, to Times Square from April 22 to May 10, 2013. For INSIDE OUT NEW YORK CITY, JR and his team invite New Yorkers and visitors to take self-portraits in a specially designed photo booth stationed in Times Square, the site of the world’s first ever photo booth almost 100 years ago. The black-and-white self-portraits will be overlaid on a backdrop designed by JR and printed on the spot as a 3’X4’ poster. The posters will either be displayed in Times Square or in the home community of the portrait’s subject. The goal of the project is to allow each portrait-taker to express through his or her face a message to the world.

The project will activate Times Square as a creative hub—engaging the boroughs of New York as the photo booth truck makes early visits to the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens, and Brooklyn. The initial portraits will feature community members from New York City neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Sandy—the Staten Island waterfront, the Rockaways, Red Hook, and Coney Island.

Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, said, “Almost 100 years ago, Times Square was the home of the world’s first photo arcades, tapping into our desire to create instant memories—the same kind we now capture ever day on our smartphones and digital cameras. Through his INSIDE OUT project, JR is asking Times Square’s visitors to use this old technology to create new instant memories—ones that can be shared with the world instead of being tucked away in our wallets or lost on our hard drives.  And by utilizing this space as his canvas, it is street art in the truest sense.”

JR, the artist behind the project, added, “For me, bringing a photo booth to Times Square will be an occasion to mirror the energy, power, and complexity of New York City. I am looking forward to seeing the crazy ideas that the New Yorkers will come up with.”

“It is the first time since the beginning of the project that we bring INSIDE OUT to the scale of a city. INSIDE OUT NEW YORK CITY is a unique opportunity for anyone to make a statement by displaying their portrait in Times Square or in their own neighborhood,” said Marc Azoulay, Inside Out Project manager and producer with JR.

INSIDE OUT NEW YORK CITY coincides with the world premiere of the HBO Documentary Film, INSIDE OUT: THE PEOPLE’S ART PROJECT, at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 20th. The film chronicles French artist JR, known for his public billboard size photographs of everyday citizens, and his large scale participatory global art project. “Inside Out” is a glowing testament to the power of the image and the role that art can play in transforming lives. An official Documentary Feature Spotlight selection at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival, the film will premiere at the SVA Theatre on West 23rd Street, on  Saturday, April 20th and debut exclusively on HBO on Monday, May 20th at 9pm ET/PT. 

INSIDE OUT NEW YORK CITY is inviting group action—schools, neighborhood groups, organizations, and individuals from throughout the city to visit the photo booth truck in Times Square, have their portraits taken instantly, and bring the posters back to display publicly in their home communities. Community members interested in participating can contact the INSIDE OUT PROJECT team at nyc@insideoutproject.net.

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About INSIDE OUT PROJECT:
After he was awarded the TEDPrize in March 2011, JR launched a global participatory art project—the INSIDE OUT PROJECT—inspired by his large‐format street “pastings.” The concept of the project is to give everyone and anyone the opportunity to share their portrait and a statement of what they stand for, with the world. Each black and white portrait is turned into a poster. Then, as groups gathered around a common statement, participants from all over the world paste the posters in a public space. This process transforms peoples’ identities into pieces of artistic work. INSIDE OUT PROJECT is primarily produced from a studio in NYC, where portraits are printed and shipped around the world. INSIDE OUT Photo Booths, however, bring the printers directly to the streets—enabling the public to participate instantly and for free. Nearly 70,000 portraits have been printed at INSIDE OUT PROJECT Photo Booths located around the world in such locations as Centre Pompidou (Paris), Les Rencontres de la Photographie (Arles), various towns in Israel and Palestine, Emirati Expressions (Abu Dhabi), Galerie Perrotin in Paris and Hong Kong, Vevey in Switzerland, in Tokyo and across Japan (with a Photobooth truck). Their INSIDE OUT PROJECT group actions are documented, archived and exhibited online at www.insideoutproject.net. Over 130,000 posters have been sent so far in more than 100 countries. For recent photos and updates on the project, visit www.facebook.com/InsideOutProject. Please contact nyc@insideoutproject.net for any inquiry.

Times Square Arts, the public arts program of the Times Square Alliance, presents leading contemporary art and performances in multiple forms and media to more than 400,000 daily visitors to New York City’s Times Square, making it one of the highest profile public arts programs in the United States. Since its inception, Times Square Arts has featured works by a diverse group of more than four dozen prominent and emerging artists. Working in partnership with cultural institutions and festivals, the program is further supported by Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Rockefeller Foundation’s Cultural Innovation Fund, which works to spur and support cultural innovation in New York City’s creative sector. Visit www.TimesSquareNYC.org/arts for more information. Follow us on Twitter: @TSqArts

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 picture taken and paste it to support an idea and share their experience – as of March 2013, over 130,000 people from more than 100 countries have participated. 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. Follow JR on Instagram (@jr) and Twitter (@jrart).