Sunday, March 08, 2009
Review: Shepard Fairey at the ICA
This past Thursday, I went to see the Shepard Fairey exhibit at the ICA. Fairey skyrocketed to fame as the designer of the iconic Obama HOPE poster but his "street art" has long been a subject of controversy- decried as vandalism, plagiarism, or both. To be honest, I knew very little about him and didn't have high expectations for the exhibit. I thought maybe Fairey was more hype than substance and I assumed that the exhibition would have ten posters or so. I was wrong on both counts, and I left the ICA very impressed by Fairey as an artist and by the exhibition itself. First of all, the exhibition is HUGE...there are literally hundreds of pieces, some of which are enormous. And they're really, really cool. Fairey has crafted an entire career out of an idea (a critique of advertising and propaganda), an image (Andre the Giant), and a word (Obey). His artwork is powerful and thought-provoking, but it retains a sense of fun and is pleasing to look at. In addition to the Obey Giant campaign and the political commentaries, Fairey has done a lot of work with music, crafting portraits and album covers in his distinct style. This Johnny Cash poster is one example, but there were tons more, and as a music fan, I especially enjoyed that section of the exhibit.
For those of you in the Boston area, I definitely recommend taking a trip to the ICA to check out the Shepard Fairey collection. (Free admission on Thursday nights!) For those of you not in Boston, well, here's Fairey's website.