JR and José Parlá Team Up for the Havana Iteration of “Wrinkles of the City”

Marina Cashdan
Jan 4, 2013 11:26PM
Earlier this year, the TED-prize-winning photographer and street artist JR was invited to develop a project for the Havana Biennial; he invited the painter José Parlá, a friend and a first-generation Miami-born Cuban-American, to collaborate. Embarking on another iteration of JR’s Wrinkles of the City project — which had previously focused on Shanghai, Los Angeles and Cartagena — Parlá and JR photographed and interviewed 25 of Havana’s oldest residents. Two months later, they wheat-pasted oversize images of the subjects’ faces on the distressed walls of the city, accented with Parlá’s calligraphic words and painting. To celebrate the completion of this project and an accompanying book and short film, Parlá conceived a pop-up Cuban “cafécito” at Andre Balazs’s Standard Spa, to run during Art Basel Miami Beach week, operated by Miami’s beloved Cuban restaurant David’s Café. The artist constructed the 24-hour Cafecito Neptuno — complete with a walk-up order window, psychedelically patterned tiles and aqua counters — named for the busy thoroughfare in Havana. (Fun fact: Beyonce and Jay Z went to the film's screening.)

I sat down with JR and Parlá to discuss the project. Read the interview and see a clip from the documentary here.

Learn more about The Wrinkles of the City project.
Marina Cashdan