Looking at JR
Aspen Ideas Festival attendees may have noticed pop-up art around the Aspen Institute campus. And it wasn't random. Those who pay attention to modern art will have recognized the handy-work as that of JR's, a semi-anonymous French artist who's known for putting art in public spaces -- often without the permission of surrounding authorities.
In Aspen, cardboard eyes popped up in the Institute's Anderson Park and photo booth faces plastered the plaza near the Silver Queen Gondola. JR launched the Inside Out Project in 2011 after he won the TED Prize, an honor that comes with cash used in an attempt to "change the world." He uses the photos, like those seen in Aspen, to give communities around the world a chance to tell their story through images.
Last year, Charles "Lil Buck" Riley was the Institute's Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence, and the dancer collaborated with JR then on a film that was screened at Ideas Festival. This year, JR returned as a speaker and to present the film "Les Bosquets."
Part of JR's allure is the ability to put art in unsuspecting places that reflects that community it's in. Though much of it is impermanent, some of the projects he produced in Aspen still remain. Keep those eyes open while walking around to stumble upon some.