Last week I got an email advertising a collaboration between Shepard Fairey’s apparel company OBEY and the Keith Haring Foundation, resulting in T-shirts, tank tops and baseball hats — including one with an unsettling combination of Haring’s three-eyed face and Fairey’s OBEY graphic — sold at mall hipster-mecca Urban Outfitters. This was enough to make begin questioning the Keith Haring Foundation’s treatment of the artist’s legacy — and then I heard about the Tenga x Keith Haring sex toys.
Evacuated from my Lower Manhattan apartment and hiding from Hurricane Irene, I find myself thinking about anonymous street art and what it means to art-viewing practices. Different from traditional art and even graffiti, the anonymous works that are found on construction walls, corners of the street and shop grates pose a difficult yet exciting problem for the street art or historian enthusiast that comes across them.
Walking or driving around Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, you’re immediately struck by the great volume of art all around, most noticeably on the wall. Some of the work is illegal but others are sanctioned through the efforts of Primary Flight, an organization which descibes itself as “Miami’s original open air museum and street level mural installation that takes place annually throughout the Wynwood Arts District and the Miami Design District.”
One gallerist told me that one “host” of a Primary Flight mural from last year loves his so much he was talking about graffiti coating it to ensure it longevity. What was remarkable about these murals, many of which were from last year, is that they look pretty much as good as the first day they were painted. Why?
Up-and-coming street art critic RJ of Vandalog asks why the new poster campaign by Shepard Fairey’s Obey studio is so damn ugly, ok, he didn’t exactly say it that way (I’m paraphrasing) but he might as well have.
The OBEY crew is looking for wall space. So, if you want a “genuine Shepard Fairey/OBEY mural” for free join the “OBEY phenomenon” and help contribute to the “enhancement of the urban landscape.”