Street Artist JR Brings Egalitarian Vision To New York City Ballet & NYCB Art Series 2014

At AOC, we’ve tracked street artist JR from Kibera to a Brazilian favela and into Paris. We celebrated JR’s winning the annual $100,000 TED prize and his ‘Women Are Heroes’ project. With his brilliant perspective on the beauty of the ordinary, JR has been camped out in New York’s Lincoln Center as part of the New York City Ballet’s 2014 Art Series.

Ballet patrons will witness a 6.500-square-foot composite image of NYCB dancers, “a sprawling mass of cloudlike forms and pointe shoe-clad feet” writes Vogue about the transformation of the David H. Koch Theater for the winter season.

Using images that are nearly life-size, the installation forms a giant eye — a signature JR motif— when observed from above. JR has also installed ink-on-wood transfer images on the orchestra level rings of the theater. They appear as ghostly visions of dancers, “recalling the building’s redecorated façade.

Reading about this project, I was a bit surprised that JR was now involved with such a rigid cultural ‘institution’ as the NYCB. Staying true to his egalitarian principles, he insisted on featuring principal dancers side-by-side with members of the corps de ballet.

“I didn’t want to choose one person that would be the highlight,” JR observes. There’s Robert Fairchild, outstretched at the outskirts of the picture. There’s Janie Taylor, her celebrated legs curled up in a fetal position. “It’s a whole company, so I wanted everyone to be a part of it.”

Read more about the NYCB Art Series 2014 and public viewing hours for the projects February 2-9.

To watch JR’s TED Talk and videos from his Women Are Heroes Project, link here. The content overview gives AOC fans an interesting look at just how we mix “telling women’s stories from fashion to flogging”.