Pharrell and David Blaine join JR in Paris

The French artist called on a few famous friends to help with the launch of his new show, film and book
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JR, Ladj Ly and mayor Gilles Catoire at Les Bosquets premier, last Thursday. Image courtesy of JR's Instagram
JR, Ladj Ly and mayor Gilles Catoire at Les Bosquets premier, last Thursday. Image courtesy of JR's Instagram

He might be an anonymous artist, yet JR certainly associates himself with some pretty famous names. The French filmmaker and photograffeur has collaborated with Robert De Niro, hung out with Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, and counts the hip-hop producer Swizz Beatz as a close friend. 

When he returned to Paris last week to premier his new short film, Les Bosquets, and open his gallery retrospective, Decade, JR knew he could count on the help of a couple of high-profile fellow creatives.

 

 

Pharrell 'Happy' Williams introduced the movie via a pre-recorded video clip, while the New York magician David Blaine, performed up-close tricks for the attendees. 

 

David Blaine performs card tricks at the premier of Les Bosquets. Image courtesy of JR's Instagram
David Blaine performs card tricks at the premier of Les Bosquets. Image courtesy of JR's Instagram

The screening coincided with the tenth anniversary of the 2005 Parisian riots, which inspired both Les Bosquets and much of the work on show in Decade; so it was fitting that the film was shown, for free, in a temporary auditorium in the Clichy-sous-Bois suburb where the unrest began. Clichy’s mayor, Gilles Catoire, and JR’s fellow filmmaker and Clichy resident, Ladj Ly, were also in attendance.

 

Mos Def entertains the crowd at JR's show Decade. Image courtesy of JR's Instagram
Mos Def entertains the crowd at JR's show Decade. Image courtesy of JR's Instagram

JR, Ladj Ly and fellow filmmaker Said Belktibia had attended a private screening on Monday at the Élysée Palace for President Francois Hollande and his administration. 

On Saturday, JR also opened his 10-year retrospective at Paris’s Galerie Perrotin. Entitled Decade: Portrait d'une generation, the exhibition occupied the first level at the gallery’s rue de Turenne and impasse Saint-Claude spaces, and featured videos, ink on wood pieces, as well as recent photographs. Brooklyn rapper Mos Def and the French-Cuban duo Ibeyi, performed for the vernissage crowd, who also took delight in our new monograph, JR: Can Art Change the World?. JR pasted one of his well-known eye images over a stack of the books, which keen buyers then tore away during the opening night.

JR installs copies of his Phaidon book at his show Decade, in Paris.
JR installs copies of his Phaidon book at his show Decade, in Paris.

For more on JR’s life and work buy a copy of our new monograph here, and check back soon for news of Les Bosquets’ UK screening, which will form part of the London Film Festival.


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