Last October after much consideration, street artist JR was awarded the 2011 TED prize, placing him in the company of other winners such as Bono and Bill Clinton and making him the youngest person, 28 years old, to be presented with the TED Prize.TED, standing for Technology Entertainment Design, although founded in 1984, truly blew up in 2006 when all of their conferences were put online for free viewing. By 2010 they had received over 300 million views and truly become immersed in American culture. Along with winning the TED Prize is $100,000 prize toward the winners “wish to change the world”.
Born in the suburbs of Paris, JR found himself fascinated in the world around him at a young age, and savored every trip abroad he took. JR soon made into inner-city Paris where he found a camera on a subway and began documenting the graffiti on subway cars and in stations. In time, he began doing his own art, putting up his photos of others works in their original locations surrounded by a spray-painted red frame. JR cultivated his art until it began to take him all over the world from the favelas of Brazil, to Israel and Palestine. With his travels, he gained fame in the street art community as one of the most unique and skillful artists in the world. With his
Photo from Melrose&Fairfax
instantly recognizable gigantic black and white photographs he has appeared across the globe, each time focusing on a new social injustice.
On March 2nd at 5pm in LA, JR will share his wish to the world via a live stream. To view this stream click Here and enter your email address on the right side of the page. Below is some of his most recent work in which, through his art, he transformed the poor town of Kibera, Kenya which is known for housing the second largest slum in Africa and helped provide justice for the woman of the slums.
Update: There’s a great article from last thursdays New York Times on JR’s life-story, the evolution of art over the years, and the TED Award.
A few quick Banksy/Oscar related updates:
1.) Banksy’s documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop did not win Best Documentary award at the Oscars. From all the buzz the film was receiving, you could have easily assumed Exit was
the overwhelming favorite to win the award, but alas, Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs’s far more topical film aboutthe financial crisis called Inside Job, won the award.
2.) Banksy did not, as far as we know, attend the event in a mask, or without. Rumors swirled before the event that the internationally known artist would accept the award wearing a monkey mask, or possibly even reveal his identity on stage. Instead, Inside Job won the award, and Banksy never showed in costume, or in the flesh
3.) Although Exit Through The Gift Shop did not win the award and Banksy (as far as we know) did not attend the award show, these past few weeks have illustrated a unique cross-section between the world of illicit street art, the gallery art world, corporations like CBS, and the film industry. Dozens of artists in Los Angeles have responded to the attention brought by the film, and by Banksy’s run in LA, by getting up more than ever, and creating even more provocative, beautiful art everyday. On the other hand, the removal of numerous Banksy works shines a light on the darker side of street art, as does the uproar when ever a Banksy piece is “vandalized”. The fact that numerous works by Banksy and other artists are being sold to private galleries, and private collectors, is antithetical to the entire purpose of street art, that being it is ephemeral and for public consumption. When another artist tags a Banksy piece, the internet explodes in uproar at the heinous act of vandalism, treating the incident like someone drew on the Mona Lisa. Banksy’s works are beautiful for the most part, but they are (and should be) ephemeral just like every other wheatpaste/graffiti/sticker thrown up across the world every day. To elevate a Banksy piece over any other artists work on the street is a discredit to street art in general and specifically to other artists who’s beautiful work is buffed and torn down by thousands of municipalities across the United States and the world.
It looks like the BBC has joined in on the Banksy mania with this short video featuring one of the people behind LA street art blog Melrose&Fairfax, as well as a few other locals
Cool video from the good folks over at Art Primo featuring a few LA artists.