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obeysmica-artsy1First of all Shepard Fairey’s exhibit at the ICA Boston is stunning visually, impressive politically and I want to see it again. Fairey is an artist of the streets who made it to the legit museum and gallery world. He  graphically shows us how confused we are. Guns and roses, life and death, love and hate  etc.

His arrest  on the way to his own opening over an old graffiti rap was stupid and put Boston in a bad light. The local cops apparently didn’t know that their acions would be picked up around the world and that they would seem odd to most people who care about art. Sure private property needs to be protected but Fairey’s deal is that he can appropriate private property, use it to communicate his own, highly worthwhile message and he seems to expect to usually get away with it (“art is what you can get away with” saith the Warhol).

Well, I get it. His street work is clever and intriguing so I guess if he doesn’t tag my house I’m ok with his methods ;>) Or to put it another way, urban public spaces are usually enhanced by graffiti of this caliber. I guess. Its a matter of taste and will always be controversial. 

Yeah but wait a minute — something strange happened on my way to the museum — Because I asked I was told that no photography of Shepard Fairey’s work would be permitted. In other words I couldn’t appropriate his stuff for, say my blog or even just to show my friends. Yet the brochure handed out at he museum said — “Know the words” — and the first word is “Appropriate!” Yep, that’s what Shepard does, but he doesn’t want any appropriations of his stuff. Is that fair or or does it even make sense?

So I only took one sneaky photo (see below). Also took some legit ones of the building and surroundings – shots of the architecture are ok according to the young man in black who sold us our tickets. (He was in black so he must be hip..)



It would be ironic to be arrested or kicked out for taking photos of Shepard Fairey’s work (which mostly have appropriated photos and other stuff in them) — know what I mean? What do you think?

(BTW — I pulled the ‘Obey’ tag from a random place on the internet. It is available world wide for your appropriation and delight!)


I recently watched the movie about Philippe Petit’s miraculous tight rope walk between the Twin Towers of New York in 1974. The movie is wonderful, telling the story of Phillippe’s friends and their preparation as well as the actual walk — 45 minutes long in which he danced and cavorted 110 stories above lower Manhattan. An awe inspiring impossibility that came true. The Frenchness of Phillippe and the honesty of his approach to life shines through.  Its a pity that no motion pictures where made of the walk but the stills are glorious.

(Image obtained from Wikipedia.)

When asked — over and over again — why he did it, he replied “there is no why. He reminds me of another favorite Frenchman of mine Henri Cartier-Bresson who said he was an anarchist. Him who found order everywhere he looked. But it was an aesthetic he said and perhaps a way of life. I think its the same for Phillippe.

A few days after I watched the movie a brilliant pilot  —  Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger —  landed his plane in the Hudson river and all 155 on board lived to tell the tale.

So a question presented itself — are these two events linked in some way? Aren’t they both impossibilities? Don’t they defy the same laws of nature — gravity, chance, probabilities? Which is more impossible? Which required more skill? Which is more anarchistic?

What do you think?

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