A JR update

photo credit: JR/Agence VU

Street art has a fairly long history of being gobbled up by the establishment. If Basquiat begat Banksy, the invisible British graffiti artist, then it’s fair to ask what comes next. Anyone who saw Banksy’s documentary, “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” which received an Academy Award nomination this year, will automatically think there’s a potential “Emperor’s New Clothes” aspect to this art. And it’s possible that no one worries about suspicions of charlatanism more than JR. [NYT]

Street art is really poised at a precarious moment right now. As Banksy is accidentally, or purposefully, working to single-handedly “monetize” and “legitimize” low art, we have artists like JR who are fighting to keep the message and the content afloat. And this is the turn of the times, when the forces of commercialization, ownership and capitalism seemingly drop on top of your artistic expression, what’s a guy to do?

… a work of his sold at an auction of street art at Bonhams in London for four times what the collector paid for it 18 months before. This is something JR strives to avoid. “I want to sell to people who buy the work because they want to be part of the broader project,” he claimed, “and not because they want to sell the work on.” [NYT]

This is a great profile piece out of the New York Times, and one of those revelatory instances when we can really gaze into the mind of an artist without just sort of throwing out this “street artist gone commercial” label.

Photo credit JR/Agence VU

If you’re in LA, hit up the JR “Wrinkles of the City” Scavenger hunt courtesy of two lovely reporters out of LA Weekly, writer Shelley Leopold and photographer Shannon Cottrell, who have been photographing and tracking these works as they are “affixed.” Enjoy this modern day marauder’s map:

View JR’s “The Wrinkles of the City” in Los Angeles in a larger map


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