Street Artist JR Takes Over Houston Bowery Wall With “The Gun Chronicles: A Story of America”

15Photo Credit: Martha Cooper

Goldman Properties announced today the latest installation at the Houston Bowery Wall in New York City: the powerful TIME Magazine cover artwork by famed photographer and artist JRJR’s work combines art and action, and deals with commitment, freedom, identity and limits. He began his career at the age of 17, as a teenage graffiti artist who was by his own admission not interested in changing the world, but in making his mark on public space and society.

And now, beginning Friday, October 26, the Houston Bowery Wall, located in the heart of Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood, will be taken over by JR for his latest creation, “The Gun Chronicles: A Story of America.” This five month undertaking creatively documents the national debate that has divided America and gives 245 people an opportunity to share their perspectives on all sides of the issue.

“We at Goldman Properties and the Houston Bowery Wall are thrilled to provide the canvas for this incredibly powerful piece of artwork created by JR for the cover of the current issue of TIME Magazine,” said Jessica Goldman Srebnick, CEO of Goldman Properties and Goldman Global Arts. “We are always driven to create platforms and provide outlets for thoughtful, skillful and meaningful creative expression. Like all art, JR’s mural is meant to create a dialogue, inspire and in this case bring people to the table in regards to a passionate issue with the hopes of finding common ground. I applaud both TIME Magazine and JR for a groundbreaking approach to a critical American topic.”

14Photo Credit: Martha Cooper

Covering TIME Magazine’s November 5th edition, JR’s “The Gun Chronicles: A Story of America” sheds a unique, non-partisan light on the divisive issue of guns in today’s society. In order to represent the areas in America profoundly affected by gun violence, JR and TIME Magazine invited people from Dallas, St. Louis and Washington, D.C. to share their views and experiences on the topic.

“It’s a truly American story: 325 million people, more than 265 million guns, 35,000 deaths a year and one 227-year-old constitutional right,” reads an excerpt from “The Gun Chronicles: A Story of America.”

During these conversations, JR photographed each individual separately, from which he then integrated each image into one, cohesive mural. In addition to the still photography, the mural was also shot as a video to propel the piece into motion. JR’s “The Gun Chronicles: A Story of America” video can be viewed through an interactive website, found here, where viewers can listen to the stories and perspectives representative of all sides of the gun issue.

We asked Jessica Goldman Srebnick, CEO of Goldman Properties and Goldman Global Arts & Co-founder of Goldman Global Arts; Peter Tunney, Co-founder of Goldman Global Arts; and esteemed street artist JR about what excited them most about the project and type of reaction they expect to see.

6Photo Credit: Martha Cooper

Jessica: “What I find to be most exciting is the opportunity to use something as simple as a wall as a platform for big change and for conversation. When we were approached by JR and his team, they told us about this collaboration with TIME Magazine on an issue that’s a divisive issue for our country. And that they were taking that issue and creating a piece of art that was an interactive piece, that would number one, be on the cover of TIME Magazine but also a piece that was public, Houston Bowery Wall, which is a wall we own and curate for a long time, is probably one of the most preeminent art walls in the country. And so, they felt like this was the perfect place for them to showcase what it is that they were doing. We’re so excited to collaborate with an artist like JR and TIME Magazine.”

Peter: “Well that’s a great question. Someone once asked me where does everyone in New York eat? Well, it’s not one place so you’re going to get a lot of reactions to this, which is what I like. I like that it’s down the middle. I just spoke to one of the woman that is pictured in the mural, and she’s the marksman. And to listen to her story, she’s such a sane and thoughtful person and she’s the best marksman in the world. Her point of view is so fascinating to hear. I like to learn to listen, listen to learn. Discourse – you can hear both sides even if you don’t like what you’re hearing on either side. I think that’s what JR is presenting: some sane, rational discussion without historyonics. That’s what I like and I think this is in that direction. And I would just say this, ‘Banksy, Tristan Eden, JR.’. Does it get any cooler or more interesting than that? Thrilled JR is thrilled, thrilled what Banksy did. Look at these guys having their finger on the pulse of things… These are really intense issues that these artists are ahead of. Talking about jailing people in Turkey, the treatment of journalists there – before the big horrible vents happen. I think artists are the voice of reason. They generate the needed discourse that no one else can seem to generate in a fair way. So good for JR. How’s that for an artist’s role?”

4Photo Credit: Martha Cooper

JR: “For me, the main thing is to create conversation. Since yesterday, what’s interesting is that it the conversation has started all across the country and people are listening to each other’s stories. We had people from the mural here getting to know each other, they came here yesterday and they are here also today. As an artist my role is to raise questions not give answers. Really starting a conversation so that all of the narratives of the people who have came and shared their stories and accepted to be around the same table even if they’re from different sides – it is really special to start that debate.”

The Houston Bowery Wall will be the only outdoor, public mural in the United States that will feature this artwork. The video will be available for viewing in museums around the country.

Stay tuned for more images as the mural production continues.

Location: 76 E Houston St, New York, NY 10012