JR Mural Replaces Kenny Scharf’s Smileys on Houston Street

06/24/2011 10:36 AM |

(amolho4/Flickr)
  • (amolho4/Flickr)

After bringing his Inside Out project to Park Slope last month, French street art star and TED Prize-winner JR has moved it into the city and taken over the Tony Goldman mural space at Houston and Bowery from Kenny Scharf with his massive photo portrait “Lakota, Dakota Nation.” But Scharf had one last celebrity visitor before his cartoon-faced crowd disappeared…

Compulsive camouflageist Liu Bolin flew from China—and was actually allowed to leave, unlike some of that country’s artists—and arrived in New York on Tuesday to be painted into Scharf’s mural. See the whole process below, at the end of which, with some assistance from Scharf himself, Bolin blends right into the bright, multi-toned composition.

Meanwhile, the JR mural officially made its debut yesterday. A press release for the project explains:

The Inside Out Group Action: “Lakota, North Dakota” will highlight the Standing Rock and Pineridge Native Reservations — some of the most important Native American reservations whose impoverished and forgotten communities have suffered unspeakable hardships. The Lakota, Dakota Nation group action is to show that the people in this community are still struggling to hold onto their native way of life.

How long will it take for New York’s native tribes to make their contributions to the new mural?

What used to be here.
  • The Kenny Scharf Bowery mural, December 2010-June 2011.

Keith Haring, circa 1982.
  • Keith Haring, circa 1982.

(Gothamist, Wooster; Photo: Flickr)