Opinion

Shepard Fairey Scurries to Protect His Dealer/Curator

Jeffrey Deitch and Shepard Fairey are bros. (image via artinfo.com)

Now the Shepard Fairey, the man who gave us Hope and then made us Hope-less is weighing in on the Blu mural controversy and it’s rather embarrassing. The good part:

I’m not a fan of censorship but that is why I, and many of the other artists of the show, chose to engage in street art for its democracy and lack of bureaucracy …

However, a museum is a different context with different concerns. It would be tragic for the break through of a street art /graffiti show at a respected institution like MOCA to be sabotaged by public outcry over perceived antagonism or insensitivity in Blu’s mural. Graffiti is enough of a contentious issue already. The situation is unfortunate but I understand MOCA’s decision. Sometimes I think it is better to take the high road and forfeit a battle but keep pushing to win the war.

So, Fairey suggests people give up. It’s the museum world after all and [here’s the subtext] he’s been dying for acceptance for, like, ever, so don’t ruin this for him.

He’s not a “fan” of censorship, he’ll have you know. Where does he draw the line? We have no idea.

What’s your point, Fairey? What do you understand about MOCA’s decision? The fact that they commissioned a work and the director of the museum destroyed it after ignoring the opinions of the local community or even his fellow curators and then asked the artist “to openly agree with their decision to erase the wall“?

How about the whole bungled process? No harsh words for Deitch and MOCA? How about the fact that Deitch couldn’t be bothered to see a preliminary drawing before he jetted off to the Miami art fairs, or did he see it and then change his mind? Also, where are all the other curators in this show or are we to assume this is Deitch’s pet project and all decisions are solely his?

And what’s this war you’re talking about? The Iraq and Afghanistan wars that continues to kill Americans, civilians, and bankrupt our country? The possible war hinted at in Blu’s mural? Some fictional street art war you’ve waging in your head against some establishment who wants to keep you down? And this “take the high road” thing? Huh?

I think the public will actually respect street art more if they represent something and not roll over whenever someone gives them some attention or money. In the 1980s, street art and graffiti shows were rather safe. The whole movement was eventually doomed when it was repackaged as a style for mass consumption, and like all styles it went out of fashion.

If the street art community wants to have some staying power in the world then they will have to stand their ground to represent something. I think Blu was doing exactly that.

I am disturbed that Fairey doesn’t even address Blu’s work and what it represents. I predict that most people will ignore this statement and see it for what it is, an artist protecting his dealer/curator/bro.

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