Monday, July 13, 2009


Many stickers have been peeled down by people who were annoyed by them, considering them an eye sore and an act of petty vandalism, which is ironic considering the number of commercial graphic images everyone in American society is assaulted with daily.
- Shepard Fairey in his Obey Manifesto
Visited the Shepard Fairey exhibit at the ICA in Boston this weekend. It's the first museum exhibit for Fairey and features examples from his earliest work up to his iconic Obama posters, as well as a handful of brief documentaries and clips. In the brief documentary, "Andre the Giant Has a Posse," Fairey explains how his original Andre stickers (which he refers to above) were meant to poke fun of gangs and skater culture, but evolved into much more.

The exhibit lasts until August 16th and is definitely worth checking out if you're a Fairey fan.

I know plenty of folks are critical of Fairey's work, but I don't find much of the most-repeated criticism terribly compelling. It's simplistic, some say. The music of the Beach Boys sounds simple, too. Try recreating it. It's derivative or he steals from other people are the most frequent arguments. What isn't derivative? And Fairey's been completely open about his sources since his earliest work. See Warhol and Rauchenberg, two of the luminaries he's compared with in this exhibit.

Fairey's work is often succinct and iconic. Those are valuable traits that might look easy, but prove quite difficult to pull off with any regularity.

  • "Street Cred," ARTINFO - explains the origins of the pointed "Obey" meme and offers thoughtful criticism of the commercialization of his work
  • Video: Shepard Fairey on Fighting the AP Over Obama HOPE Image

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