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Artist Behind Mural On Former Hancock Building Revealed

The mystery behind the strange image that appeared on the side of the former John Hancock Tower in the Back Bay has been solved.

The male-looking figure that appeared on the side of the building Wednesday morning is a temporary public art installation by French artist JR.

The piece is still a work in progress, according to a statement from Boston Properties, which owns the building at 200 Clarendon. Once complete, the piece will be seven stories tall — measuring 150 wide and 86 feet tall. The lowest point of the piece will be about 500 feet above the ground. It's being installed on floors 44 to 50 of the 60-story tower.

There are few details about what the final image will look like. According to the statement from Boston Properties, the image represents a photograph the artist took during his travels.

JR prefers for the artwork to emerge quietly, for the city to respond to the imagery. Creating a sense of surprise and tension as the image slowly materializes 500 feet in the air. What will it be? Why is it there? What does it mean? The image is meant to evoke contemplation and reflection. Step away from your busy day, look up and enjoy your surroundings, escape for a moment from the daily routine. The building is not simply a surface for the picture it is part of the artwork. The tower holds the floating figure 500 feet in the air, a glorious farewell to summer.

The art installation is being curated by Pedro Alonzo, a local independent curator who has worked with Banksy and Os Gemeos. (You might remember Os Gemeos from their controversial large-scale mural in Dewey Square in 2012.)

Here are some more views of the work, taken Wednesday:

Another view of the not-yet-completed mural on the side of the former John Hancock building. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Another view of the not-yet-completed mural on the side of the former John Hancock building. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The mural as seen from Storrow Drive Wednesday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The mural as seen from Storrow Drive Wednesday. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
(Jesse Costa/WBUR)
(Jesse Costa/WBUR)

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Zeninjor Enwemeka Twitter Digital Reporter
Zeninjor Enwemeka is a digital reporter, covering a range of news. She also covers tech and culture as part of WBUR's Bostonomix team, which focuses on the innovation economy.

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ARTery funding is provided by the Barr Foundation to inspire creativity.