Posted by: inforodeo | February 7, 2009



“Controversial” street artist Shepard Fairey who “gained fame with his red, white & blue posters of President Barack Obama” was arrested last night in Boston as he was entering an exhibition of his work at the Institute of Contemporary Art.  I’ll feign some amount of ignorance when i say this, but what is a ‘street artist’ doing having an art exhibition at such a place? (His work is also included in the collections of the Smithsonian.) Oh, wait … “Street Artist” actually means (at least in his case) “Grafitti Vandal”, and i suppose he had to continue to commit crime to maintain his “street cred(ibility)”.

Actually Fairey gained fame a long time ago with his Andre the Giant “Obey” posters, and re-entered prominence with his support of Barack Obama in that stupid poster that liberals are so proud of.  I’m not sure if they liked it because Fairey had a certain measure of underground coolness because of the Andre images, or because he, like most of the violent, riotous liberals we’ve had to deal with, has greatly confused destruction of public or private property with the ‘right to free speech’.  I’d initially wondered why Obama would choose such a subversive criminal to design some of his most famous campaign imagery, but now that i think of it, Illinois politicians have a long tradition of hob-nobbing with criminals, and this particular one hangs out with numerous terrorists, so why not? (Not surprising, Fairey provides financial support to South Mexican terrorist group, the Zapatistas*, and claims this is one of the ways he can prove his art is not just about exploiting things for profit. hmmm. Isn’t funding terrorists illegal for people who don’t have a friend in the White House?)

Fairey’s Obama poster has also generated a lot of additional controversy because it was a manipulated image owned by the Associated Press.  Fairey has acknowledged as much, but no credit or compensation has thus far been given to remedy this copyright infringement.  Much of Fairey’s work is also “taken” from other artists and photographers, especially “artists of color” and images from social movements.

Fairey’s “Obey” (Andre) posters recently entered the news again in Seattle, where someone had been posting them around town.  I wondered if this was to draw attention to Fairey and expose his past, or to applaud his ‘progression’ to working for Obama, or just some unoriginal ‘artist’ wannabe trying to re-enact Fairey’s work … you know, like a ‘Copycat Fairey’.  Strangely (and embarrassingly) enough, the local news and city officials somehow thought the posters were mocking Obama, so liberal Seattle (at least the barely-educated liberal Seattle) was furious.  It was interesting to see the resemblance to Obama in the shadowed face of Mr. The Giant, and strangely ominous that the quote beneath it – part of Fairey’s original work- said “Obey”. 

I support artists.  To be honest, a certain part of me is sometimes jealous that guys like Fairey have done such controversial or interesting things in the name of art.  This part of me, however, is kept at bay by my higher desire to be a productive and law-abiding citizen of society, and as such, I have not and will not engage in vandalism, arson, theft, vulgarity, or any number of the other ‘easy art’ forms that such “artists” engage in, and i do not find vandalism, arson, or obstructive unlawful assembly a valid use of “the right to free speech”.

source: “Meaning of Obama Signs In Downtown Seattle A Mystery”, KIRO News, 01/19/2009

* footnote: In practice, and possibly one of the reasons some liberals support the Zapatistas (besides “because cool subversive anarchist groups like Rage Against The Machine do”) is that they are fighting for independence of their state from government control/exploitation.  This was the same philosophy that was the main driving force behind the American Civil war, and the South leaving the North.  Though we’ve been taught the war was “all about slavery”, the truth is that some Southern states weren’t as ‘pro-slavery’, and some Northern states supported slavery.  The problem (as far as the South saw it) was that the Federal Government shouldn’t have had power to tell the States what to do … the Federal Government was created to help states engage in trading with one another, to provide an overall protection from outside adversarial forces, etc … and had never been designed to become the sole decision maker for the individual states (that’s why states had their own government!). To some extent, this type of political inflamation had been going on since the Whiskey rebellion, and (get this!) was aklso the major reason the United States fought the Revolutionary war against Great Britain: they were taxing us and taking our resources, and the colonists wanted more control over ‘their’ land.  Whoa hey! and that is also why the native Americans fought against the European invaders, and …
I guess my point is … i don’t support that group or Americans who do … but it is important to consider this recurring theme in history …


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