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Essay on JR and Jose Parla

story © Michael Betancourt | published July 22, 2012 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  


I wrote a short essay on JR and Jos Parl's collaboration in Havana, Cuba. It will be in the new book Wrinkles of the City: Havana, Cuba | JR & Jos Parl, from Damiani, due out this fall. You can pre-order it from

Drawing together the history of communist propagandathe eponymous images of the sacred leader-heroes of the revolutionand contemporary art, these murals reflect the struggle taking place within still-communist Cuba as it moves into the present. This collaboration between photograffeur JR and painter Jos Parl was a fruitful fusion of artistic skills and techniques: both artists photographed, wheat pasted, and worked over the images, integrating them. The bare bricks of severed walls jut through, torn, the photographs sprawl around fractures and outline lost plaster, Parls signature calligraphy drifting, surrounding, extending the photograph across the surface beyond the carefully cropped portraits edge developed in two stages: the first, two weeks in March to scout locations where they met, interviewed, photographed models; the second, three weeks from April 28th to May 13th, creating their murals for the 11th Bienal de la Habana (May 11th to June 11th, 2012). Wrinkles of the City, Havana, Cuba is the fourth part of a mural series begun by JR in Spain, continued in Shanghai, in Los Angeles, and then in Havana where he collaborated with Parl.


  • Wrinkles of the City: Havana, Cuba | JR & J...
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