Liu Bolin, ‘JR Through the Eye of Liu Bolin’, 2012, Eli Klein Gallery

About Liu Bolin

Claiming, “I put my thinking of the whole of society and my view of the entire world into my artworks,” Liu Bolin produces sculptures, installations, paintings, and photographs in which he critiques global societies. Though he has traveled to cities like New York and Paris for his work, he focuses principally on his native China, characterized by rampant development and consumerism. Among his best-known projects is his “Hiding in the City” series (begun 2005). Eschewing Photoshop, Liu stands in front of iconic cultural, historical, and commercial sites, camouflages himself to blend (almost) seamlessly into his surroundings, and photographs himself. The resulting images show him dissolved into shelves of junk food or the Great Wall—a Taoist vision of oneness with the world, and a warning of contemporary society’s consumptive power.

Chinese, b. 1973, Shandong, China, based in Beijing, China

About JR

A semi-anonymous street artist of international renown, JR plasters giant, monochrome photographs of faces in urban centers—on rooftops and walls, in church windows, and along the sides of buses. Calling the street his gallery and “using art to turn the world inside out,” JR delivers a message of social action, telling the stories of the marginalized or voiceless. “Portrait d’une Generation” (2004-06) featured images of young African immigrants hamming for the camera, plastered in the Paris suburbs in the aftermath of major rioting; for his project “Face 2 Face” (2005-07), JR pasted huge images of similarly jovial Jews and Palestinians along the border marking disputed areas between Israel and Palestine. JR describes his practice as a continuation of the “tagging” he did as a young graffiti artist: “I’m tagging faces of persons,” he says. “They are the ones responsible for their image. When the people react to the project, it becomes their project.”

French, b. 1983