A couple of weeks back, an unusual sight popped up in Brooklyn: A bunch of shipping containers stacked into a Jenga-like tower at a location near the Williamsburg waterfront in Domino Park. Observers were a bit mystified at first, but it soon became clear that the structure (designed by cutting-edge architecture firm, LOT-EK) was part of a massive outdoor art project by French artist JR—a giant street art photo-mural meant to coincide with his exhibition, “JR: Chronicles” at the Brooklyn Museum. Now the piece is up and wowing viewers with it’s depiction of a cityscape filled with more than 1000 real New Yorkers who posed for the artist.
The Chronicles of New York City, as JR titles the piece, is an encomium to New York City and its immense diversity and features people drawn from all five boroughs. The project at Domino Park is actually a monumentally scaled duplicate of an identically titled work back at the museum; there, it serves as the show's centerpiece and also includes a soundtrack in which each of the subjects relate their personal histories. There are 1,128 folks in all (including Robert De Niro!) pictured as a crowd teeming against a backdrop of city landmarks such as the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center and the Williamsburg Bridge.
In Williamsburg, the mural hangs suspended from the tower of containers and measures 53-feet-high. Additional iterations of the mural are also concurrently installed at Kings Theatre in Flatbush and the Brooklyn Academy of Global Finance in Bedford Stuyvesant with more to come as the show progresses. They’re all going to come down, however, when the exhibition concludes in May.