See JR’s new mural featuring Robert De Niro in Domino Park

February 3, 2020 Scott Enman
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From a massive child peering over the U.S.-Mexico border wall to an Olympic boxer tumbling off a building in Brazil, Oscar-nominated director and photographer JR is constantly pushing boundaries with his larger-than-life outdoor sculptures.

On Monday, the French artist unveiled his latest work, a 53-foot-high photomural in Williamsburg’s Domino Park, created in conjunction with his exhibit, “JR: Chronicles,” currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum.

The piece takes the centerpiece from the exhibit, “The Chronicles of New York City,” and blows it up on a massive scale. It depicts 1,128 New Yorkers standing on buildings with the Williamsburg Bridge, Freedom Tower and Empire State Building in the background. The artist individually photographed each subject and then collaged their images together into one collective portrait.

“We wanted to bring ‘The Chronicles of New York City’ outdoors into a public space to have it as free and as accessible to as many people as possible,” said Sharon Matt Atkins, co-curator of “JR: Chronicles” and the museum’s director of exhibitions and strategic initiatives.

“As you look at the mural, you see the Williamsburg Bridge in the mural and also as the backdrop of the mural, so it ended up being the absolute perfect placement and juxtaposition.”

A particularly famous New Yorker sits on the porch in this section of the mural. Can you see who it is? Photo: Paul Frangipane/Brooklyn Eagle

To photograph the subjects, JR drove a 53-foot truck with a photo studio in the back throughout the five boroughs. He took random people off the street, as well as local shop owners, and photographed them.

Look close enough, and you might see a few familiar faces, including famed actor Robert De Niro, dancer Lil Buck and the artist himself doing a wheelie on a bike.

JR also captured each subject’s audio story, asking what New York City means to them and recording their responses. Onlookers can download the JR Murals app and listen to their answers.

The mural by artist JR is propped up by a series of shipping containers. Photo: Paul Frangipane/Brooklyn Eagle

The artist started working on “The Chronicles of New York City” in the summer of 2018 and was initially inspired by Diego Rivera’s epic murals depicting the eclectic mix of city life, according to Matt Atkins.

The entire piece is fastened to a maze-like structure of shipping containers, and was created in collaboration with architectural design firm LOT-EK. JR has two other outdoor murals currently on display at the historic Kings Theatre in Flatbush, as well as the Brooklyn Academy of Global Finance in Bedford-Stuyvesant. A fourth is slated to open in Downtown Brooklyn in the spring.

French artist JR, the person responsible for the new mural, is shown riding a bike in this portion of the piece. Photo: Paul Frangipane/Brooklyn Eagle

His exhibit “JR: Chronicles” is on view at the Brooklyn Museum though May 3. It features photographs, videos, dioramas and archival materials from throughout the artist’s career.

JR also has work — which he collaborated with De Niro on — on display at the abandoned Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital where he installed 25 life-size photos of real immigrants from the Ellis Island archives.

Follow reporter Scott Enman on Twitter.

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