In an attempt to show the faces of the New Yorkers and tourists who swiftly move through Times Square at an unrelenting 24-hour pace, French street artist JR has set up a photo booth right in its center. Inside Out New York City, which started last night as part of the Times Square Arts public arts program, is a continuation of JR’s Inside Out Project, where the faces of the people who live in a place are made visible on its structure.
Since he started the project in 2011, he’s been prolific with it, with this idea of using people’s faces as a way of making a connection in disconnected places catching on everywhere from Palestine and Israel to the North Pole. Since arriving in New York a few days ago, he’s been just as busy, with a film on his project, Inside Out: The People’s Art Project, screening at the Tribeca Film Festival, and his roving photo booth (a truck decorated with giant eyes in his signature dot scheme) makings stops around NYC, including the Rockaways where locals got their photos pasted up on the remains of the pier on the beach swept away by Hurricane Sandy, and Red Hook in Brooklyn.
As a fun fact, the first modern photo booth was actually on Broadway, showing up in 1925 and allowing visitors to pay for a quick portrait behind a curtain. Now anyone can line up at JR’s photo booth truck for a free 3′ x 4′ poster of themselves against a dotted backdrop, which is pasted on the ground in a sprawling mural of faces. As the project continues through May 10, the mosaic of smiling, scowling, clowning, and staring faces will expand and alter as new images are pasted over the old, so in theory each day the faces you see will all be people who were there just hours, or minutes, before you.
While Inside Out New York City‘s goal to “show the world an inclusive image of New York City” might be hard to do in Times Square, where most people who live here just want to get out as quickly as possible, it is a fun and engaging way to glimpse all the people and their personalities who drift through this small frenetic corner of the world at once.
JR’s Inside Out New York City is at Duffy Square on Broadway between 46th and 47th streets in Times Square through May 10.
Special Edition: 🖌️Artists’ Signatures ✍️
In this special edition, we investigate what artists’ signatures actually mean, and the fascinating results reveal the multifaceted history of this curious phenomenon.
What Is a Signature in the Internet Age?
As a cryptographic unit for record-keeping, an NFT can be seen as analogous to a signature or an autograph.
The Public Theater Explores the Hurricane Katrina Diaspora in shadow/land
Written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza and directed by Candis C. Jones, this lyrical meditation on legacy, erotic fugitivity, and self-determination is on view in NYC.
The Meaning of Ancient Greek and Roman Artisan Signatures
What did a signature mean in the ancient world, and how much can we trust what they seem to tell us?
Michelangelo’s Signature and the Myth of Genius
Michelangelo served as a stellar example for future artists who sought status and economic independence.
The Rubin Museum Presents Death Is Not the End
Tibetan Buddhist and Christian works of art made across 12 centuries explore death, the afterlife, and the desire to continue to exist. On view in NYC.
Uncovering the Photographer Behind Arshile Gorky’s Most Famous Painting
As we pursue photographer Hovhannes Avedaghayan a fascinating picture begins to emerge of him and the world of which he was part.
100 Years of Artist Signatures in a Detroit Club
The beams in Detroit’s Scarab Club act as a guest book of sorts, carrying a wealth of stories and history, including signatures by Diego Rivera, Marcel Duchamp, Margaret Bourke-White, Isamu Noguchi, and others.
When I Am Empty Please Dispose of Me Properly
Ayanna Dozier, Ilana Harris-Babou, Meena Hasan, Lucia Hierro, Catherine Opie, Chuck Ramirez, and Pacifico Silano explore the myths of the American Dream at Brooklyn’s BRIC House.
The Myth of Agency Around Artists’ Signatures
In an art world built on shifting sands, artists’ signatures become symbols of agency for some, and relics of the past for others.
The Women Artists Commemorated on an NYC Sidewalk
The signatures of Rosa Bonheur, Mary Cassatt, and six other historical women artists are engraved on a small stretch of sidewalk on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Pratt’s 2023 Fine Arts MFA Thesis Exhibition Is On View in Brooklyn
The two-part exhibition features the work of 41 graduating artists across disciplines, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and integrated practices.
Met Museum Repatriates 15 Objects to India
The sculptures were all at one point sold by the disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor.
Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova Placed on Russian “Wanted” List
Tolokonnikova has long been a thorn in the side of Vladimir Putin’s regime.