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Release Date: Sep 23, 2013

NYC Department of Design and Construction and Times Square Arts Brings Art Works to the Construction Fences During Broadway Pedestrian Plaza Construction

Inaugural Exhibition by JR Will Again Turn Times Square INSIDE OUT

September 25, 10:00 a.m.: Press opportunity and initiative launch in Times Square

(NEW YORK, N.Y.) — Starting this September, the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, have partnered to turn the construction fences in Times Square into a large-scale canvas for a rotating contemporary art gallery. For the inaugural exhibition of the Times Square Transformation, a multi-year renovation project of the Broadway Pedestrian Plazas, JR returns to Times Square to turn it inside out, this time using just the eyes of New Yorkers and tourists that were photographed as part of his INSIDE OUT NEW YORK CITY project this past Spring. Turning Times Square INSIDE OUT will launch on September 25, 2013, and be on view through January 2014.

Times Square is a site of constant transformation: people, goods, culture, and commerce all meet and transition at the Crossroads of the World. Currently, New York City is working to update its infrastructure, and Times Square and its Broadway Pedestrian Plazas are a part of this project. DDC is managing the design and reconstruction of Times Square. The construction barriers will eventually give way to reveal a revitalized plaza with new amenities and a thoughtful, pedestrian-centered design. Times Square Transformation is soliciting proposals from artists for new work to be displayed on this fencing throughout the duration of the construction. Between September 2013 and Spring/Fall 2015, there will be approximately six exhibitions with each changed periodically. Visit TimesSquareNYC.org/Transformation for more information, #TSqTransformation.

Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, said, “During this time of transformation, we want to continue to make Times Square a destination for art seekers. By turning the construction fences into a rotating art gallery with the help of DDC, we will raise awareness of the creative role and commitment of Times Square Arts throughout the construction process.”

“Behind the construction fences in Times Square, we’re working on a multi-year City project to install permanent pedestrian plazas and upgrade the area’s below-ground infrastructure, including new water, sewer, and utility lines.  We’re proud to partner with the Times Square Alliance to make the project’s construction barriers more attractive and interesting to passersby, as well as ensuring their safety,” said David J. Burney, FAIA, Commissioner of the Department of Design and Construction.

Sherry Dobbin, Director of Public Art, Times Square Alliance, said, “For our inaugural exhibition, JR's work celebrates the very human connections and diversity that make up the vitality of Times Square.”

In their support of Times Square Arts, ArtPlace America is helping to bring installations like this to Times Square and showcase the transformation process, ultimately making Times Square a model and experimental test-bed for the nation, maintaining the vitality of the public space during challenging long-term construction projects. This project is also supported by an award by the National Endowment for the Arts.

INSIDE OUT NEW YORK CITY activated Times Square as a creative hub this past April and May. New Yorkers and visitors alike took self-portraits in a specially designed photo booth stationed in Times Square. The black-and-white self-portraits were overlaid on a backdrop designed by JR and printed on the spot as a 3’ x 4’ poster. Almost 6,000 faces of New Yorkers and visitors covered the ground of Duffy Square over the three-week period. The portraits were also used to cover a giant billboard in Times Square. The 100-foot-high by 140-foot-long billboard at 701 Seventh Avenue (at 47th Street), which wraps around the building owned by the Witkoff Group/Maefield Development Joint Venture, still features nearly 500 black-and-white self-portraits of New Yorkers and tourists.

PRESS OPPORTUNITY: Wednesday, September 25, 2013, at 10:00 a.m.
Location: 43rd-44th Streets at Broadway, on the west side of Military Island.
Photo opportunity and interviews with artist JR; Tim Tompkins and Sherry Dobbin, Times Square Alliance; and Deputy Commissioner Eric Macfarlane and Assistant Commissioner Tom Foley.

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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 350,000 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 five dozen prominent and emerging artists. Working in partnership with cultural institutions and festivals, the program is further supported by ArtPlace America, National Endowment for the Arts, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and partner institutions. Visit www.TimesSquareNYC.org/arts for more information. Follow us on Twitter: @TSqArts.

The Department of Design and Construction (DDC) is the City’s primary capital construction project manager.  DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings, such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, courthouses, and senior centers.  This public agency also delivers new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains, and other infrastructure projects in communities throughout the city.  To manage this $8 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies and with emerging and world-renowned architects and consultants, whose experience and creativity bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects.  For more information, please visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/ddc/html/home/home.shtml.

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 155,000 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.

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 155,000 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).

Media Contacts:
For Times Square Arts: Gia Storms (212) 452-5205 | 917.626.6757 | gstorms@TimesSquareNYC.org or Daniela Stigh (Rubenstein) (212) 843-8269 | dstigh@rubenstein.com
For DDC: Craig Chin (718) 391-1641 | chincr@ddc.nyc.gov