Sunday, May 23, 2010

Shepard Fairey Post-Script

This review of one of Shepard Fairey's exhibitions in 2009 says many of the things I do, and better, and with more knowledge at its disposal:

To this day, he insists that his oeuvre expresses no ideology, that its cardinal message is simply "question everything." Aside from being a lowest-common-denominator philosophy, this is doing a disservice to the urgency of his work’s better messages -- his environmentalism, his anti-war views, etc. Presumably, Fairey actually wants to move people with these works. At the same time, the dictum’s vague character reflects Fairey’s own political vagueness

His bottom line:

Still, at the end of the day, it is Fairey’s aura of idealism -- that his art actually gets out of the gallery and does stuff, that it speaks a popular language, that it feels righteous and relevant -- that has given this show such tremendous resonance. And if there is one thing that his success shows, it’s that images and ideas can take on a life all of their own, and transcend their source. In the political realm, the Obama campaign has inspired hopes, demands and even activism that go far beyond President Obama’s policy prescriptions, which are, after all, pretty limited. If Fairey’s success has something of this effect for the art world, that’s a good thing.

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