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French, born 1983
A semi-anonymous street artist of international renown, JR plasters giant, monochrome photographs of faces in urban centers—on rooftops and walls, in church windows, and along the sides of buses. Calling the street his gallery and “using art to turn the world inside out,” JR delivers a message of social action, telling the stories of the marginalized or voiceless. “Portrait d’une Generation” (2004-06) featured images of young African immigrants hamming for the camera, plastered in the Paris suburbs in the aftermath of major rioting; for his project “Face 2 Face” (2005-07), JR pasted huge images of similarly jovial Jews and Palestinians along the border marking disputed areas between Israel and Palestine. JR describes his practice as a continuation of the “tagging” he did as a young graffiti artist: “I’m tagging faces of persons,” he says. “They are the ones responsible for their image. When the people react to the project, it becomes their project.”