Preview: Winter 2020 Juxtapoz with JR, Soul of a Nation, Prudence Flint and More!
Looking back on our 25th year of Juxtapoz, reading through the over 212 print publications, special issues and books we have made, I kept coming back to this idea of community. It would be naive or presumptuous to deny the sense of commonality before Juxtapoz, and that’s not the point. Some of my favorite movements, whether Dadaists, Surrealists, Hairy Who and early graffiti writers, all developed their own publications, zines and languages for sharing their own histories. Robert Williams, however, took those precursors and created something entirely different, a place to take all the disparate and outsider art forms and create a sense of association among all the art mediums under the sun. Each issue strives for that essence as we tell this history together.
Our next 25 years starts with this idea in mind, so really, is there another artist who embodies art, creativity and community in 2020 more than JR? Through a practice of photography, JR continues to break the mold of activist art, community engagement and large-scale institutional projects unlike anyone in the twenty-first century. When JR won the TED Prize in 2011, it felt like a landmark occasion for not only street art, but all the art that Juxtapoz had been covering to that point, this Parisian artist becoming an international force by creating and actualizing community and street level artworks. In uniquely creating a dialogue among opposing entities, from Palestine to the favelas of Rio, to Women As Heroes and massive public projects at the Louvre in Paris, JR empowered the work to become bigger than the self. He gave us the opportunity to participate, create, and oversee how we want our communities to look, absent of political or tribal structures. When he conceived the Chronicles projects in San Francisco and NY these past years, stories were not just what JR wanted to tell, but became our stories, visions we could share in our own words.
What’s great about JR is that he treats an interchange with me or you, or the President of France, or Robert De Niro, with an equal measure of attention and interest. In a celebrity-driven society, where our culture presses preoccupation with the narrative of social hierarchy, JR dismantles this captivation with characteristic fairness and openness. Everyone’s story is of equal importance. And with each issue, we too, target those stories and these engagements. Whether relaying the historical importance of the community of artists in Soul of a Nation, Cheryl Dunn’s beautiful words on the passing of her mentor, Jill Freedman, or learning more about emerging talents, Rebecca Ness, Dominique Fung and Diedrick Brackens, Juxtapoz aims to capture stories from the artists themselves. As we turn to 2020, an election year, these stories of democracy are more vital than ever.
Enjoy Winter 2020.