I’ve been a big fan of French artist JR for a lot of years now, ever since I first came across his soon-to-be-signature massive photographs of people’s faces wheatpasted onto, first, the bridges of Paris, then favela shacks in Rio (below), then decrepit trains in Nairobi. In 2011, after winning the TED Prize, JR launched his wildly, wonderfully ambitious Inside Out Project, for which black-and-white portraits of ordinary people are printed on posters and exhibited by participants worldwide. More than 120,000 posters have been created so far, and are plastered onto walls public and private in more 100 countries. It’s an empowering way for people to say: this is my home; this is my community; this is who I am.
JR’s already done a number of things in the great city of New York before (see above, for example, on the High Line), but between April 22 and May 10 the Inside Out Project will be stationed in Times Square, and EVERYONE is invited to join in. Here’s how it works: show up at the specially designed photo booth near Duffy Square; get a self-portrait taken; walk away with your free, printed-on-the-spot 3′ x 4′ poster of your face. You can paste it up on a wall (or the ground) right there, bring it back to your home community (which, because it’s Times Square, is likely to be anywhere on the planet), hang it in your home, give it to your mom, whatever you want. It should be a total blast. Expect lines.
JR’s Inside Out Project in Times Square will run from April 22 through May 10. The hours are unclear, but I imagine they’ll be running all day and well into the night. Self portraits and posters are free. More info on JR Inside Out New York–they’ve already been to the Bronx, which is where these photos are from–can be found here. Lots more amazing images of JR’s work around the world can be found here.