This Week in New York Insider's Guide to Arts & Culture in New York City Since 2001



(photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Photos line the ground at Duffy Square as part of JR’s Inside Out art project (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

Duffy Square, 46th St. & Broadway
Daily through May 10, free, 12 noon - 8:00 pm
Midnight Moment nightly at 11:57 through May 31
inside out new york city slideshow

“Tell me what you stand for and together we’ll turn the world inside out,” French artist JR says about his work, an interactive project in which ordinary citizens from around the world get to express themselves in large-scale photographs that are pasted up on walls, buildings, streets, rooftops, trailers, and other locations, reclaiming their personal identity as well as public space, often in response to crime, poverty, natural disasters, and governmental abuse. Winner of the 2011 TED Prize, “awarded to an extraordinary individual with a creative and bold vision to spark global change,” JR used the $100,000 TED grant to create Inside Out, for which he and his small team have taken and/or printed some 130,000 photographs from more than 100 countries and helped paste them up in appropriate locations with special meaning, from Haiti, Tunisia, and Sierra Leone to Colombia, Mexico, and North Dakota. People are encouraged to make any kind of face they want, the vast majority ending up being playful, filling the world with smiles while revealing the power of paper and glue in a kind of peaceful protest against tyranny as well as a celebration of life.

Participants can pose with their photo before its added to Duffy Square exhibition (phto by twi-ny/mdr)

Participants can pose with their photo before it’s added to Duffy Square exhibition (photo by twi-ny/mdr)

JR, whose story is told in Alastair Siddons’s compelling documentary, Inside Out: The People’s Art Project, which was recently shown at the Tribeca Film Festival and debuts on HBO on May 20, is currently in New York, where he has brought his Inside Out mobile photo-booth truck to Times Square. Every day from 12 noon till 8:00 through May 10, visitors can get their photo taken, then watch as it’s added to the highly trampled ground in Duffy Square. Participants can take a picture of themselves with the three-foot-by-four-foot printout, and it’s all free. “The streets are the best gallery I could imagine,” JR says in the film. In addition, JR has also instituted the project’s first electronic pasting, as a three-minute video incorporating footage from the documentary and the photo shoots will be shown every night in May at 11:57 across numerous digital screens in Times Square as part of “Midnight Moment,” which has previously displayed short works by Robert Wilson, Tracey Emin, Björk, Yoko Ono, and others. Inside Out is a twenty-first-century project that cleverly uses modern technology to give power back to the people in these difficult, changing times.

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