Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A New Format and Shepard Fairey: Supply and Demand

Hi All,
Sorry for the lapse of time in between posts, I have been admittedly paying more attention to my new website. But I’m back! I am going to continue posting personal updates on this site, but will also be speaking more about openings, shows and the accolades of others. Please feel free to comment and leave your feedback!

Last month I took advantage of Free Thursdays at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston to see Shepard Fairey: Supply and Demand. I knew of Fairey’s work long before the Obama Hope Poster entered our realm, which really shot him in to the world of fame. Being from Rhode Island myself I had seen the Andre Has a Posse stickers plastered around the city as a teenager, and recognized them in Italy and Japan as well in later years. I saw his images all over Washington, D.C. in the form of posters, stickers, t-shirts, hats, buttons, wall murals and more when I was down for the inauguration of President Obama. I also made sure to get to the National Portrait Gallery to see the original painting/print of the Obama Hope Poster. This induction alone is an accolade for Fairey, considering the vast majority of works in the Portrait Gallery are very reserved, traditional oil paintings of our past presidents. Although the use of his appropriated image was questionable, his success at creating a unifying image to represent an incredibly large and passionate movement is undeniable.

In terms of the show, the ICA does a fantastic job of transforming the galleries. Each of the past three major shows I have been to in the new facility (Louise Bourgeois, Anish Kapoor and now Shepard Fairey) rendered the space unrecognizable each time.

The show represented a variety of Fairey’s work from the span of his career, and showed a huge range in size, medium, and content. I was partial to his large paintings because of the evidence of the artist’s hand, where things intersected and deleted other layers, rather than every element being put in it’s spot and told to stay there, as I felt with his screen prints. The prints were so perfectly registered that I wondered why the designs weren’t just printed off the computer they were initially made on. I was very attracted to the “retired” stencils that are framed and now basically drawings. The amount of work in the galleries was overwhelming, I would suggest giving yourself at least two hours to soak it all in. I left the show knowing it was an important one, glad I went, and tired.