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Can Art Change the World? 5 Important Works by JR

For those wondering, who is JR? He is a French street artist and photographer known for fly-posting monumental b&w photographs around the world. He is also one of TIME’s 100 Influential People, a proven activist, an unexpected hero, and Emmy Nominee.

In this day and age, when it seems that our divisions make breaking news and our differences publicly broadcasted; the artist nevertheless dedicates his life to bridging these gaps. JR begs the question in life and his book: “Can Art Change the World?” Moco thinks it can. Keep reading to see how art can change the world.

Inside Out
JR was awarded the 2011 TED Prize for Inside Out, a project with the mission to change the way we view the world. The ongoing project incorporates monumental installations, using photography as the vehicle to promote change and pay tribute to everyday people. For example, Inside Out Tijuana places portraits along the Border Wall to humanize migrants and their stories.

How to Participate in the Inside Out Project:

Everyone is welcome! First, register your Group Action with a statement about what you believe in or what you want to fight for. Next, send your photos! In exchange, JR sends back your photos in a large format to paste your message. Furthermore, there is an Inside Out photo-truck that directly offers what’s needed for participation. The scope of Inside Out has seen more than 300,000 portraits across 130 countries. JR is successfully turning the world inside out.

“Images are not special. It is what you do with them.”

When he first delved into the subject of immigration, JR met a family that lived very close to the US-Mexico Border Wall. A baby named Kikito would look over the wall from his crib every day, with no political perspective. At this location, the artist built his Kikito installation. As a result, a monumental photographic portrait of the toddler expresses the innocence of young immigrants.

On the last day of this performative installation, artist JR set up a picnic on either side of the Border Wall and invited both Mexicans and Americans. Even though border patrol threatened to shut down the project and arrest participants; orders were ceased after witnessing this act of goodness.

The Secret of the Great Pyramid
was a collaboration between the Louvre and JR. The figuratively ground-breaking project celebrates the 30th anniversary of their modern glass pyramid by architect I.M. Pei. The community-driven artwork saw over 400 volunteers – 2 of them the Moco Founders – participate in the pasting of 2,000 strips of paper across 17,000 square meters! Everyone knew that this artwork could not live forever, yet volunteers came together to fulfill the artist's wish and create a collective memory.

During the project, Belgian-French filmmaker, dear friend, and collaborator, Agnès Varda passed away at age 90. She and JR directed the Oscar-Nominated documentary Faces, Places (2017), and had been inseparable ever since.

Faces Places (Visages Villages)
Faces Places
is the award-winning documentary that follows an unlikely pair around rural France. Bonded by a shared curiosity, JR and Agnès embark on an adventure to photograph and listen to unsung heroes. They learn that behind each front door there is a tale to be told. Together, they paste the faces of the otherwise unheard - along with their stories - to celebrate their existence. With open hearts and open minds, they document how art can change the world.

The Gun Chronicles: A Story of America
by JR
is a unique collector's piece that pays tribute to his project with TIME Magazine - Guns in America. Nominated in the category of Outstanding New Approaches: Current News category, the project combines art and journalism to present one of the most important debates in American History.

One by one, JR photographed, filmed, and interviewed 245 participants from all backgrounds: hunters, veterans, activists, survivors, police officers, teachers, parents, children - people afraid that guns may kill their children and people afraid they cannot protect their children without them. And one by one, he pinned each cutout to compose a masterpiece.

Though he initially had no relationship with guns, JR proposed the subject. Provoked by the steady rise of mass shootings, they documented the debate over American gun laws and ownership.

The Gun Chronicles has traveled to 10 cities across the US, sparking a national discussion in an already politically-charged climate. For the first time at Moco Museum in Amsterdam, JR continues this important conversation abroad. Buy Moco tickets to be a part of the conversation and see the gripping masterpiece in person.

*On view at Moco Museum Amsterdam.

Moco 🖤 JR
In his art, his bright mind, his accent, his egoless being, his energy - hell yeah, it’s his energy! It’s safe to say, Moco has a crush on JR. As he continues to forge community projects in unfamiliar territories and expand into new formats, he demonstrates that art can change the world!

Don’t miss the chance to see The Gun Chronicles: A Story of America at Moco Museum Amsterdam.

*Please note that collection of Moco Museum is subject to change and not all pieces may be on view at all times. We thank you for your understanding and look forward to welcoming you.