JR is a prolific French photographer who has left his mark on cities all over the world with his signature wheat pastings, enlarged portraits plastered in surprising locations from sidewalks and sides of buildings to vehicle and construction barriers. Lucky for New Yorkers, JR has graced the city with his photography many times and continues to add new pieces to our urban landscape. From the walls of Ellis Island’s abandoned hospital complex to the floor of Lincoln Center, here are 7 places JR has posted photographs in New York City:

10. Unframed Ellis Island

As part of his worldwide series title Unframed, in 2014 JR installed 26 site specific photographs on the crumbling walls, windows, doors, floors and furniture of Ellis Island’s abandoned hospital complex on the south side of the island. The photographs are historical images that the artist picked from the Ellis Island archives. The haunting images were taken on the island when it served as an immigration center. To learn the story behind the images, and see all 26 parts of the installation for yourself, you can join an upcoming Unframed JR tour of the abandoned hospital complex, where a JR expert will bring the images to life with the real-life stories of their subjects.

“Unframed Ellis Island” by JR, a guided tour of the exhibition inside Ellis Island’s Abandoned Hospital

Unframed pieces were also installed in Vevey, Switzerland, São Paulo, Brazil, Marseille, France, and Baden-Baden, Germany. In 2016, JR brought the project back to New York by pasting an image from Ellis Island on the side of a building in Tribeca. This image replaced another JR pasting of a ballerina. JR’s Ellis Island installation was also the subject of a documentary, title Ellis which starred Robert DiNero and was shot on location at the abandoned site.

9. Elizabeth Street Garden

Photograph by JR, Courtesy of the Elizabeth Street Garden

If you keep up with JR’s Instagram, you will see a scattering of post highlighting work that is still up in New York City. His newest pasting in New York City can be found in the Elizabeth Street Garden. The portrait is of a young girl named Nova, one of the garden’s youngest volunteers, depicted resolutely holding on to a tree. It represents the struggle the community is facing to protect and preserve this green space, which executive director Joseph Reiver says “has always been a sanctuary for artists, poets, musicians, performers, and thinkers of all kinds to be inspired and create new work,” from development. A rally to save the space will be held at the garden on October 28th from 2:00p.m. to 4:00p.m.

JR also previously did another pasting in the Elizabeth Street Garden in 2013.

There are also JR pieces you can see at 265 Lafayette Street7 East 59th Street, and the corner of Great Jones and Bowery. Another New York City project JR recently worked on was the art for the 56th New York Film Festival poster, with cinematographer Ed Lachman. The poster features pictures of the eyes of forty one film directors held up by people in a New York City alley.

8. The Bowery Mural

On September 26th, the French artist JR completed a new work at the Bowery Mural at Houston and Bowery called “Guns in America,” produced in partnership with TIME magazine. The work features 245 people whom JR, his team, and TIME journalists met across the United States on all sides of the gun issue, including “veterans and teachers, hunters and doctors, people afraid that guns may kill their children and people afraid they won’t have guns to protect their children,” writes Edward Felsenthal, TIME’s Editor-in-Chief. The participants in the painting says JR, “will always be part of the same mural even if they don’t share the same ideas. I really hope they will actually listen to each other, and I hope that people will join this conversation.”

7. Guns in America Mural in Brooklyn

JR’s work at the Bowery Mural in conjunction with the TIME Magazine cover “Guns in America” made a big splash, but a follow-up mural in Brooklyn just off the Brooklyn Queens Expressway got literally no coverage. This wheat pasting takes over the side of a whole building and features a portion of the same cover magazine.

Alban Denoyel, founder of the 3D platform Sketchfab snapped photographs, and then used a drone to capture a 3D annotated image you can view here.

6. Walking New York

One of JR’s largest projects in the New York City was Walking New York. The project spanned all five boroughs and included fifteen images, that JR shot himself, of recent immigrants in Nolita. The above image of Elmar, a 20 year old from Azerbaijan, which measures 150 feet high, was pasted over night in Flat Iron Plaza and went on to grace the cover of The New York Times Magazine in April 2015 when the project was installed. Other images in the series appeared in places like Grand Concourse in the Bronx, Williamsburg, Staten Island, and various locations in Manhattan. Untapped Cities tracked down all fifteen images which you can see here.


5. NYC Ballet

In collaboration with the New York City Ballet in 2014, JR photographed the company dancers and turned the images into a massive trompe l’oeil rendering of an eye created with life-size photos. This giant image covered the floor of the Promenade at the David Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, and was accompanied by a large pasting on the front windows as well.

The photographs complimented a ballet performance that was actually choreographed by JR and performed at the theater for three nights. Les Bosquets, which featured original music by Woodkid, was inspired by JR’s first art project, Portrait of a Generation, and by the riots that happened in France in 2005.


4. 100 Franklin Ballet Dancer

JR Church Franklin-Ballet Dancer-NYC

The above work, taking the full side of a building at Franklin Street and Church Street, is inspired by artist JR’s prior work in the ballet realm both here in New York City including his film Les Bosquet which in collaboration with the New York City Ballet. The 100 foot by 75 foot wall in Tribeca is on the site of developer DDG’s upcoming 100 Franklin Street building.


3. Unframed, Ellis Island at 100 Franklin

Less than a year after the ballerina went up at 100 Franklin, JR and his team went back to Tribeca to install a new piece over the old one. The piece “Unframed, Ellis Island” piece is 95-feet tall and is a blown-up photograph of a group of immigrants on Ellis Island in 1908. In this one-minute time-lapse video, you get to see how JR and his staff install the wheat-pasted work of art, one piece at a time. In 2014, JR placed pieces in abandoned hospitals on Ellis Island. He would later film a documentary titled Ellis, featuring Robert DeNiro, actor and head of the Tribeca Film Festival.

You can join an upcoming Unframed JR tour of the abandoned hospital complex, where a JR expert will bring the images to life with the real-life stories of their subjects.

“Unframed Ellis Island” by JR, a guided tour of the exhibition inside Ellis Island’s Abandoned Hospital

2. Inside Out

Photograph by Stephanie De Rouge

Inside Out is a “global participatory art project started by JR, after he was awarded the 2011 TED Prize.” Any group of at least 5 people who organize a Group Action can participate. Groups with a message and fifty portraits can send them to the Inside Out team who prints and sends them back to the group to post to get their message out. Part of the project included photo booths that popped up in various countries where anyone could have their portrait taken.

The project came to New York in 2016 when about 6,000 people had their portrait taken at a photo-booth in Times Square and then pasted it on the ground. The project also made an appearance at Fordham, where another photo booth appeared. Images were then pasted on a cement wall that runs along 60th street through the campus. Giant portraits of members of the Native American Lakota tribe that appeared around New York City in 2012 were also part of the Inside Out project and New York City photographer Stephane De Rouge used the program this past winter to create her series Feeding NYC which featured portraits of New York City street vendors in the East Village.

1. A Truck Traveling Cross-Country

In 2016 JR covered a truck on all sides in his signature wheat-pasting style, this time using a black and white photograph of hands reaching out from a black background. The truck, driven by his friend Daniel Salin,  made a cross country journey all the way from New York City, west to Los Angeles, California.

Next, check out 62 NYC Outdoor Art Installations Not to Miss in October 2018