For JR, it’s all about the process.
There’s a scene in the film where JR speaks with a prisoner about what art is all about. The process, they conclude. The film unveils the street artist’s process as he enlists armies of artisans and regular residents to create his iconic photo visuals glued on the faces of buildings and other surfaces, from the favelas of Brazil to the wall at the US/Mexican border to tenement housing in Paris to a maximum security prison yard in California.
The film is more about the children scurrying up the steps of a Rio favela, gluing photographs of residents’ eyes around the neighborhood or the antics of the Parisian tenement dwellers, whose likenesses are plastered across the city, than it is about the impresario behind it all. JR tells the story from the sideline as his subjects/collaborators take center stage. Their process is spontaneous, moving, thought provoking and just plain fun.
In a surprise appearance, Oscar-nominated actor Bradley Cooper introduced JR at the screening, highlighting the social impact of JR’s work and his friendship with the artist. JR then took the podium and discussed how Cooper’s friendly advice has always been helpful in his artistic process.
The after party, hosted a few blocks away at the restaurant Michael’s, boasted an A-list crowd. Beck, Ari Melber, Ayman Mohyeldin and magician David Blaine were among the guests.
Blaine performed card tricks for some of the partygoers, including MSNBC president Rashida Jones and also yours truly. He had me pick a card from a deck as he was shuffling and it somehow ended up under my wristwatch!
Paper & Glue comes off the heels of JR’s Oscar-nominated documentary Faces Places, which he made with French New Wave legend Agnes Varda. JR’s latest hits theaters Nov 12.