After Andy Warhol, Marc Chagall, Ai Weiwei, and Shepard Fairey, French artist JR has now joined a roster of artists who have created a cover for TIME Magazine - and as expected, it is a poignant one.
Known for exploring social issues in a unique manner, this photograffeur appeared on the 2018 TIME 100 list and will now contribute to the ever-challenging conversation on guns in America. His work of art will accompany a special report on gun violence in the country released by the publication.
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325 million people. More than 265 million guns. 35,000 deaths a year. And one 227-year-old constitutional right. To tell this uniquely American story, we worked with @time. In three U.S. cities profoundly affected by guns—Dallas, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.—we invited people to share their views and describe their experiences in a search for common ground. In all, we filmed and photographed 245 people—hunters and activists, teachers and police officers, parents and children—to create this mural for TIME’s November 5, 2018, cover. Explore the full project at TIME.com/guns-in-america @time
In a conversation with TIME Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Edward Felsenthal, JR revealed that his interest in the topic of guns came from his own ignorance about it. ”In France, we don’t have any relationship with guns, and so I’m discovering the whole issue,” said the artist, who then decided to start yet another debate on the subject, with an interesting point of view.
Working as an illustration reminiscent of Old Master paintings in a way, JR’s interactive mural sees a group of 245 people set around a table and involved in a heated conversation. Over the period of five months, he and his team, along with a group of TIME journalists, travelled to three cities - St. Louis, Missouri, Washington, D.C., and Dallas, Texas - where they photographed, recorded and filmed people with views on the gun issue.
Among them, we can spot Lezley McSpaccen, whose son Michael Brown was shot dead in Ferguson, MO and sparked the Black Lives Matter movement, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head at a 2011 event, or a gun-rights supporter who was critically injured in a shooting at a congressional baseball practice. By visiting TIME’s interactive page, you can explore JR’s mural and hear all of their stories.
While JR’s work is gracing the cover of TIME Magazine right now (it is on the stands as of today), the mural will travel to museums across the country. FuturePace in New York will host the project through a nine-day show titled The Gun Chronicles: A Story of America, with another showing coming up at the Houston Bowery Art Wall.
The mural will then travel to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, New Orleans Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and the Dallas Museum of Art, among others. TIME is also inviting citizens around the country to host a projection of the mural and to stage a public discussion on guns in their town.
Featured images: Guns in America: A TIME and JR Project. Courtesy TIME.