Artist JR Inserts Bowery Wall in Gun Control Debate with TIME Magazine Collab
“It’s a truly American story: 325 million people, more than 265 million guns, 35,000 deaths a year… In three U.S. cities profoundly affected by guns — Dallas, St. Louis, and Washington, DC — we invited people to share their views, describe their experience and search for common ground.” — TIME Magazine
If you haven’t seen it yet, definitely go check out the latest mural — by artist JR — at the Bowery Wall in New York City, on Houston and Bowery streets. I’ve been a fan of the French artist JR and his realistic renderings ever since I saw his Immigrants mural in Tribeca.
His latest work in NYC presents a collaboration with TIME Magazine in an interactive work of journalism, photography, and technology addressing the gun debate that highlights the current deep divisions in American politics.
For the mural, JR took photos of each individual interviewed, and inserted them, one by one, into this heavily layered, uncannily realistic piece. When you scan the QR code on the side of the mural, it pulls up the TIME magazine piece and the audio interviews with each person.
As a former journalist, I commend this piece and how it sparks conversation about a critical issue killing many Americans.
On the more political side, and in the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that slayed 11 people as the mural went up — I can’t help but feel like this shouldn’t be a tough debate. So while I appreciate the attempt at balanced coverage, I also find it a little disappointing to give voice to an already loud, domineering side of the argument. I am also surprised at the neutrality coming from an artist who has in the past taken strong stances to support human rights.
The statistics don’t lie, and clearly America has a huge gun problem on its hands, with mass shootings occurring so regularly that most people can’t remember the names of them all. In my opinion, when I go home to St. Louis and see signs that you can’t bring your concealed gun in the library or other public places, I can’t help but feel unease. These signs were never a sight for me growing up, as we didn’t have such permissive gun laws. Obviously the power of the multi billion dollar gun lobby is pervasive in politics and spinning public feeling and opinion.
Overall I love this mural from an artistic perspective and for its subject matter. This piece did spark discussions, as many gathered throughout the day to read, inspect, and talk about the wall. What are your thoughts on the mural? And the gun control debate? Comment below and keep the conversation going.
For the full TIME interviews and JR’s photos, check out Time.com/Guns-In-America.