JR has unveiled a monumental installation at the armory show in new york, which opens this week. on the façade of pier 94, the internationally renowned artist debuts an enormous new work that transforms archival ellis island photographs into a large-scale public art piece. ‘so close’ expands on JR’s often politically-charged interventions and installations, which see larger-than-life-sized, black-and-white portraits pasted across cities.

JR armory show
JR, so close, 2018 | co-presented by artsy and deitch projects | all images by teddy wolff for the armory show

 

 

presented in partnership with artsy and jeffrey deitch, JR’s ‘so close’ sees supersized silhouettes of immigrants waiting in line at the armory show entrance. archival images sourced from ellis island are updated with portraits of syrians the artist took at the zaatari refugee camp back in 2017. ‘so close’ responds to global immigration crises, and symbolically sits at a point of entry to the city, the country, and the art world. the installation is the marquee feature of the fair’s platform section, curated by jen mergel, who has selected 15 site-responsive works sited around pier 92 & 94 under the theme ‘the contingent’.

JR armory show
on the façade of pier 94, the internationally renowned artist debuts an enormous new work

JR armory show
‘so close’ transforms archival ellis island photographs into a large-scale public art piece

JR armory show
the installation expands on JR’s often politically-charged interventions and installations

JR armory show
the project is presented in partnership with artsy and jeffrey deitch

JR armory show
archival images sourced from ellis island are updated with portraits of syrians the artist personally took

  • Nice concept, but demographics misrepresentation is too obvious. According to statistics on Syrians arrived in Europe in 2015 male refugees comprise 81% of the total (and male 18-34 are 42%). Figures for other years and regions are similar. Not sure if it is a purposeful misrepresentation or just an oversight, but if an artist is tackling social issues they have a responsibility, in my opinion, not to skew facts to make a point. Especially in an artwork as grand as this. Definitely not my favorite JR work.

    Ron says:

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