The latest artwork by Parisian street artist JR has been installed at DDG’s 100 Franklin in Tribeca. The 95- by 88-foot installation is a blown up photograph of migrants to the US, originally taken at Ellis Island in 1908.
The photograph is part of the artist’s “Unframed, Ellis Island” exhibition, which features historical photographs of immigrants passing through Ellis Island on their way into the United States. The entire exhibition was unveiled on Ellis Island, and aims to bring to life the memory of the island’s historical function as the entry point for millions of migrants to their new life in America.
To accompany the exhibit, JR has also directed a short film, starring Robert De Niro, which premiered at The New Yorker Festival under the title “Ellis.”
The pseudonymous JR (who has been photographed, but whose real name has never been revealed) considers himself a “photograffeur” – photographic graffiti artist – with an artistic practice based around flyposting large black-and-white photographic images in prominent public locations, appropriating the urban space (“the largest art gallery in the world”, in his words) in a manner similar to graffiti artists. His most notable projects include portraits of young people from the housing projects in Paris, pasted in large format around Paris, as well as photographs of Israeli and Palestinian residents face to face, in eight Palestinian and Israeli cities on both sides of the Separation Barrier.
In his recent project, exhibited in Paris from May 25 to June 27, JR used an anamorphic image to cover I. M. Pei’s Pyramid in front of the Louvre. Seen from the right angle, the pyramid appears to disappear.
The same location, 100 Franklin, has already served as the installation site for another one of JR’s artworks – the 100-foot installation of a ballerina, pasted on the same wall in 2015, which went viral.
“Unframed, Ellis Island” by JR will be on display at DDG’s 100 Franklin property in Tribeca, New York.