On the exterior of Pier 94, the artist and 2018 Academy Award nominee, JR debuts a monumental work, transforming archival Ellis Island photographs into a large-scale installation.
Presented in partnership with Artsy and Jeffrey Deitch, “SO CLOSE” (2018) is the marquee feature of the fair’s Platform section, curated by Jen Mergel, who has selected fifteen site-responsive works sited around Pier 92 & 94 under the theme, The Contingent.
Upon entry to the fair, visitors will be faced with the super-sized tableau of a line of immigrants, waiting. The faces in the archival image from Ellis Island are updated with Syrians’ portraits JR took at the Zaatari refugee camp in 2017. Like his recent image of the smiling toddler Kikito strategically installed on scaffolding in Tecate, peering over U.S.-Mexican border wall from the California side, the supersized silhouettes of “SO CLOSE” are sited at a symbolic point of entry—to the city, to the country, and to the art world.
The new installation expands on JR’s provocative and often politically-charged public interventions that paste large-scale black-and-white photographs of individuals across cities’ architecture, re-weaving a human presence into the urban fabric.
- Unframed, An immigrant family views the Statue of Liberty from the Ellis Island Immigration Station dock revu par JR, courtesy of National Park Service, Statue of Liberty National Monument, U.S.A, 2014