Thursday, November 01, 2007

Shepard Fairey "Nineteeneightyfouria" Preview Photos (Juxtapoz)

Preview: Shepard Fairey "Nineteeneightyfouria"
by Chris Osburn
Thursday, 01 November 2007

Chris Osburn brings us a preview from the set up of Nineteeneightyfouria, the largest solo Shepard Fairey exhibition to date. The show opens at StolenSpace in London, running from November 2nd until November 25th.

here for all the photos at


Anonymous said...

Over the past few years, controversy has arose about the originality of
Shepard Fairey's work and whether he has intentionally plagiarised peer street wear brands
without crediting the artists from who he drew his inspiration, thus questioning the
validity of Shepard Fairey's designs. Such accusations are documented on, a popular website inside the street wear community which
offers a platform to expose plagiarism within the industry. More recently, in an interview
with Mat Gleason, publisher of Coagula Art Journal and exhibition director at Gallery C in
Hermosa Beach, California, this question of validity is brought up as the main theme of
discussion. Gleason explains why, from a professional art critic's point of view, Shepard
Fairey is not considered to be an artist, but rather a businessman "promoting the
brand of Shepard Fairey as a corporate identity". Gleason compares the Obey campaign
to the Coca-Cola campaign, in which both are similar by the fact that "they are both
on the streets, they are both promoting a brand and at the end of the day it's a very
empty experience". Gleason's conclusion that Shepard Fairey is the antithesis of the
original graffiti artist is supported by his theory that "the original street artists
that Shepard Fairey emulates have nothing to do with the same concerns", which are to
create out of necessity and urgency rather than out of commercial

Anonymous said...


In response to Fairey’s solo exhibition, Imperfect Union, (December, 2007) at the Merry Karnowski Gallery in Los Angeles, California, Mark Vallen, renowned artist, activist, illustrator and curator criticizes Fairey's work and career as an artist, in a essay published on his Art for a Change web site. Vallen expresses his outrage at how Fairey has made a career "out of the consistent, secretive and wholesale copying of other people's artworks" and describes why, in his opinion, "it should make obvious that anyone so ill-informed should not be in the vanguard of today's political art". He identifies Fairey's work as "machine art that any second-rate art student could produce" by picking apart Fairey's heavy usage of "silly portraits of a dead wrestling champion" as well as "absurdist propaganda". Vallen acuses Fairey of "toying with the veneer of radical politics" when "his views are hollow and non-committal". Vallen also explains how Fairey is "deceiving people by pawning off counterfeit works as original creations" with numerous examples of original pieces shown side by side with Fairey's "lucrative OBEY fashion line" version. In the example of the White Panther logo, Vallen emphasizes that by "exploiting the panther logo for profit by printing it on boutique clothing, Fairey has accelerated the dehistoricization and commodification of American history", and in his opinion, "has forfeited his ability to speak as a dissident". He states that "Fairey is guilty of utilizing historic images simply because he "likes" them, and not because he has any grasp of their significance as objects of art or history". Vallen further supports that "Fairey simply filches artworks and hopes that no one notices" and that "these days any amateur with a minimally written crackpot manifesto can make waves in the world of art". If Fairey has "developed a profitable livelihood exclusively based on pilfering the artworks of others", Vallen ultimately asks "can Shepard Fairey honestly be described as an artist who can critically assess the unholy union of government and big business, or offer comments on the underpinnings of the capitalist machine?". Koloman Moser, Ralph "Bingo" Chaplin, Pirkle Jones, Rupert Garcia, Rene Mederos, Félix Beltrán and Gary Grimshaw are a few of the plagiarized artists that are mentioned in Vallen's critique.

Anonymous said...

Mark Vallen is simply trying to jumpstart his go-nowhere career by bashing someone who actually HAS one. It’s a time-honored tradition among the second-rate and failing. The fact that he passed out literature– including HIS OWN ART– amongst those standing in line at Fairey’s show ought to tell you he’s simply an opportunist out to raise his own profile. If he were truly interested in constructive dialogue he would have picked up the phone and made the local call to Fairey to ask him about it. Then, if he wasn’t satisfied with the answers– or at least wanted to include them– he could have offered up the other side of the coin. Instead, he posted a shrill call of “Look at Me!” in hopes of selling a few more canvases of his Jr. High caliber artwork. Pretty sad, really.

Jimmy Roberts said...

In response to anonymous:

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