Monday, March 9, 2009

Shepard Fairey Exhibit

We saw the Shepard Fairey exhibit at The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston yesterday. Shepard Fairey is the artist who has plastered our cities with the Andre the Giant posters and stickers. This is the first museum survey of his work. This is the kind of exhibit all contemporary art museums should be having. It is relevant and current. It is also timely in that as a nation we have just witnessed the a huge reminder of how powerful grassroots efforts can be. Shepard Fairey uses a grassroots approach to getting his work out there but Obama just used very similar tactics it to get elected president. Fairey also appropriated a photograph of Obama for an art piece. It is the presidents head in red, white and blue with the word "hope" underneath it. Justin overheard a man ranting about this image at the exhibition. He felt that Fairey was using his influence to trick young voters into voting for Obama. This man obviously missed the entire point behind Fairey's work and has no faith in young voters.
As an artist I was struck by the constancy of the work. Fairey has produced a large and coherent body of work. By using similar colors, patterns as well as visual and conceptual ideas his work flows in a really nice way. When Justin and I were first discussing this, I felt that this was a good thing to strive for but then quickly changed my mind and realized that I enjoy changing and leaping from one idea to another. I will never be that constant.
This is definitely an exhibit to see.

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