10 Fascinating TED Talks by Contemporary Artists

Hearing artists talk about their work can be fascinating. If they’ve been invited to speak at TED, you know it’s going to be amazing. Come see. Get close. Go deeper. From the poignant, political motivations behind JR’s giant face wheat-paste explained by the giddy, charming street artist himself, to Theo Jansen narrating the inner-workings of his intelligent kinetic sculpture-animals, to Miru Kim talking about urban exploring in the buff, there have been some very interesting talks. Here are some of our favorites.


French street artist JR is known for wheat-pasting giant, monochrome portraits of regular people. His canvas is the world — from the wall separating the Gaza Strip to the billboards of Soho, New York. In his talk, he discusses “turning the world inside out” through art and letting it change your perceptions. It’s a fantastic look into the emotionally, culturally loaded implications of his simple work.