JR’s Anti-Gun Mural on the Bowery Tagged in Response to Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting
Friday evening, street artist JR imparted an anti-gun mural at the Bowery Wall in collaboration with TIME Magazine, replacing the Tristan Eaton treatment from months earlier. In a twist of tragedy, the visual conversation proved timely after an anti-Semitic gunman murdered eleven Jewish congregants at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.
Some twenty-four hours after completion, someone tagged the black-and-white imagery with the number “11” – in blood-red paint – which represents those murdered yesterday morning.
For this corporate canvas of faces, JR had photographed 245 people and “invited them to share their views, describe their experiences, and search for common ground” on the topic of guns in America.” The enormous QR code at the bottom leads the inquisitive to the TIME feature.
The finished product – ” Guns in America” – also serves as cover for the November issue, and will stay up for the next few weeks.
JR is on a roll these days. The Bowery Wall follows mere days after supporting the Elizabeth Street Garden with a paste-up. And he also exhibited a show at Galerie Perrotin on Orchard Street over the summer.
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How would an artist, one whose body of work explores the world’s most complex social issues, approach the topic of guns in America today? TIME's Editor-in-Chief, Edward Felsenthal, asked that question in the From the Editor letter in this week's special report: Guns in America. "If he were @jr, a native of Paris," writes Felsenthal, "it would be with fresh eyes (behind his trademark sunglasses) and an open mind. His latest work—extraordinary murals that bring together on one canvas people from all points of view and walks of life—is about our common humanity. His message, powerful and regrettably rare at this cultural moment, landed him on this year’s TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people." @jr’s mural—pasted on the Houston Bowery Wall on Oct. 26, through Nov. 15—envisions the cover of TIME as a table, the kind of setting where we might actually listen to one another. Over five months, he and his team, along with a group of TIME journalists, traveled to three cities—St. Louis; Washington, D.C.; and Dallas—to film, photograph and record, one by one, people who represent the vast range of voices in our gun debate. The final result brought together 245 people from every imaginable vantage point: 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. The participants in this project “will always be part of the same mural even if they don’t share the same ideas,” says the artist. “I really hope they will actually listen to each other, and I hope that people will join this conversation.” Explore all 245 voices in this @time and @jr project at TIME.com/guns-in-america. Photographs by @claramokriphoto for @time