Inside Out New York City
French artist JR’s global initiative Inside Out Project, a large-scale participatory art project he started in 2011, came to Times Square from April 22 to May 10, 2013. For Inside Out New York City, JR and his team invited New Yorkers and visitors to take self-portraits in a specially designed photo booth stationed in Times Square (the site of the world’s first ever photo booth almost 100 years ago). The black-and-white self-portraits were overlaid on a backdrop designed by JR and printed on the spot as a 3’ x 4’ poster. People lined up from noon - 6pm to get their photo taken and printed. Posters were then pasted up in Duffy Square in Times Square or in the home community of the portrait’s subject. The goal of the project was to allow each portrait-taker to express a message to the world through her or his face.
The project activated Times Square as a creative hub, and engaged the boroughs of New York with a photo booth truck making early visits to the Bronx, Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn. The initial portraits featured community members from New York City neighborhoods most affected by Hurricane Sandy—the Staten Island waterfront, the Rockaways, Red Hook and Coney Island.