The Armory Show, Artsy, and Jeffrey Deitch to Present a New Public Work by French Artist JR

  • Unframed, An immigrant family views the Statue of Liberty from the Ellis Island Immigration Station dock. Courtesy of JR and the National Park Service, Statue of Liberty National Monument, U.S.A, 2014.

    Unframed, An immigrant family views the Statue of Liberty from the Ellis Island Immigration Station dock. Courtesy of JR and the National Park Service, Statue of Liberty National Monument, U.S.A, 2014.

On the exterior of Pier 94, the internationally renowned artist and Academy Award nominee, JR, will debut a monumental new work, transforming archival Ellis Island photographs into a large-scale installation.

Presented in partnership with Artsy and Jeffrey Deitch, SO CLOSE (2018) is the marquee feature of the fair’s Platform section, curated by Jen Mergel, who has selected fifteen site-responsive works sited around Pier 92 & 94 under the theme, The Contingent.

SO CLOSE is a continuation of Artsy’s six-year relationship with the fair and extends Artsy’s tradition of presenting site-specific artist projects at The Armory Show.

Upon entry to the fair, visitors will be faced with the super-sized tableau of a line of immigrants, waiting. The faces in the archival image from Ellis Island are updated with Syrians’ portraits JR took at the Zaatari refugee camp in 2017. Like his recent image of the smiling toddler Kikito strategically installed on scaffolding in Tecate, peering over U.S.-Mexican border wall from the California side, the supersized silhouettes of SO CLOSE are sited at a symbolic point of entry—to the city, to the country, and to the art world.

The new installation expands on JR’s provocative and often politically-charged public interventions that paste large-scale black-and-white photographs of individuals across cities’ architecture, re-weaving a human presence into the urban fabric. Building upon his UNFRAMED series of borrowed photographs, SO CLOSE collapses history and geography, responding directly to the global immigration crises. SO CLOSE will be the first work seen by visitors as part of The Contingent, which responds to the unfolding zeitgeist that Mergel defines as the “rise of collective action in the face of a prevalence of uncertainty.”