Shepard Fairey’s new mural on Houston Street
Shepard Fairey spent years making a name for himself in street art culture with his ubiquitous "Obey" posters and stickers–he's racked up well over a million hits worldwide; even if you don't know what we're talking about, you'd definitely recognize them–but in 2008 he became famous to the rest of the world for his iconic blue-and-red Obama "Hope" poster.
This week the street art-superstar has wheatpasted his way into New York City semi-permanence with his provocative mural "These Parties Disgust Me", getting put up right now on the corner of East Houston and Bowery. Once the spot of a legendary Keith Haring piece, the location–complete with freestanding, phony wall–is curated these days by gallery giant Jeffrey Deitch, and has seen a Haring homage and, most recently, a sunshiney piece by the Brazilian brothers who call themselves Os Gemeos.
Now it's Shepard Fairey's turn, and we were fortunate to be able to watch him work the other night, pasting and painting, coincidentally enough right after seeing the excellent Exit Through the Gift Shop, "the world's first Street Art disaster movie," three blocks away at the Sunshine, a (maybe) documentary which stars Banksy, Mr. Brainwash, and… Shepard Fairey!
It was really cool to witness the piece's creation, and the final touch-ups this afternoon, and Shepard Fairey was unbelievably patient and friendly with the crowd that gathered to watch, joking and chatting and signing autographs and submitting himself to countless "My Space" pictures with fans. Fairey even brought along a box of swag, for onlookers to help themselves to stickers and such.
Like most of Shepard Fairey's work, "These Parties Disgust Me"–which expresses in a self-explanatory way the artist's feelings about present-day politics–uses repetition and sampling, and lots of red. And even though Fairey has maybe never been one of our favorites, the mural's size–the wall is around 17 feet high and over 50 feet long–and location, with all those great sightlines, give the piece weight and punch (especially, perhaps in comparison to Os Gemeos's more pastelish work), and we think it's both an aesthetically and politically appropriate addition to the neighborhood. So: welcome.
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