Friday, June 05, 2009

Shepard Fairey Exhibit at Institute of Contemporary Arts

Yesterday we met some friends at the Boston Institute of Contemporary Arts, a modern art museum on the wharf which I had never before visited.  Thursday nights are free, so why not check it out?  There was an exhibit of the work of Shepard Fairey--a name with which I wasn't familiar, but I certainly recognized some of the many iconic media images he has created over the past several years.  He is perhaps most famous for the influential Obama "HOPE" images which you will undoubtedly recognize:

Interestingly, there is an ongoing legal battle between the Associated Press and Shepard Fairey regarding copyright infringement--I would tend to side with the artist on this one.  
Another familiar image Fairey is responsible for is the "Andre the Giant Has A Posse" campaign which he evidently created as an art student.  People would post these stickers all over street signs, newspaper distribution machines, etc; perhaps you've seen them around.

Sometimes the stickers just have a caricature of the gargantuan pro wrestler's face, with the slogan "OBEY" on it.  I believe this is a commentary on the use of certain images for propaganda purposes. 

In fact, the museum is presently decorated with an Andre the Giant face on its upper floors:
Finally, Shepard Fairey is also responsible for the cool "Walk the Line" movie posters for the Johnny Cash movie from a few years back.  All in all, a surprisingly worthwhile visit to the ICA, though it was certainly a challenge preventing a 2-year-old Sophie from doing any permanent damage to some of the more delicate modern sculpture pieces in the other exhibits.  

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