photograph by Ka-Man Tse for @TSqArts
The 100-foot-high by 140-foot-long billboard at 701 Seventh Avenue (at 47th Street), which wraps around the building, now features nearly 500 black-and-white self-portraits of New Yorkers and tourists that were overlaid on a backdrop designed by French artist JR and printed as 3’X 4’ posters. These self-portraits were taken in a specially designed photo booth stationed in Times Square as part of JR’s INSIDE OUT NEW YORK CITY project, which ran in Times Square from April 22 through May 10, 2013. As part of the project, participants were given the option to either paste their self-portraits on the ground in Duffy Square in the center of Times Square or take their portraits home. The goal of the project was to enable each participant to express a message to the world through his or her face.
The Witkoff Group/Maefield Development Joint Venture generously donated the giant billboard on its building in Times Square to JR’s global initiative INSIDE OUT PROJECT, a large-scale participatory art project he started in 2011, and which he brought to Times Square in the spring of 2013.
>>> Download Press Release
>>> More information about JR’s INSIDE OUT NEW YORK CITY
>>> View the installation of INSIDE OUT NEW YORK CITY on 701 Seventh Avenue in this video, created by JR and his team
photograph by Ka-Man Tse for @TSqArts
photo by Marc Azoulay courtesy of INSIDE OUT PROJECT
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 insideoutproject.net/nyc and www.facebook.com/InsideOutProject.
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).
The Witkoff Group
The Witkoff Group is a fully integrated real estate investment firm that owns a diverse portfolio of commercial real estate assets in the US. Founded by real estate investor Steve Witkoff, the firm specializes in acquiring undervalued properties in key central business district locations. The Witkoff Group joined forces with New Valley, LLC, the real estate investment subsidiary of Vector Group Ltd. The company owns a 50% ownership interest in Douglas Elliman Realty and is seeking to acquire additional operating companies. It also holds investments in several significant real estate projects in California and New York.