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Shepard Fairey to unveil new solo art show at his L.A. gallery

August 30, 2010 | 11:01 am

Fairey In recent months, Shepard Fairey has been in the news more for his court battles with the Associated Press than for his artwork. But in September, Fairey the artist will take over the spotlight from Fairey the legal lightning rod when he unveils his latest solo art show at his gallery in Los Angeles.

"Printed Matters," which runs Sept. 16 to Oct. 9 at  Subliminal Projects in Echo Park, will feature a variety of Fairey's printed works, including prints on wood, metal, album covers and fine art collage papers.

"Some people say print is on its way out, that it will be wiped out by digital media," said Fairey in a statement. "But I say you can never replace the provocative, tactile experience of an art print on the street or in a gallery."

The show marks the first time that Fairey has mounted a solo exhibition of his own work at Subliminal Projects, which he and his wife, Amanda, opened in 2008. The opening night will feature a public reception and a book signing of "Beyond the Street: The 100 Most Important Figures in Urban Art."

As a street artist, Fairey has had considerable experience mass producing his own posters, stickers and other media that he and his team have plastered in cities around the country.

His most recognizable motifs include "Obey Giant" and the Barack Obama "Hope" poster, the latter of which is at the center of his legal dispute with the Associated Press.

Earlier this year, Fairey, 40,  mounted a solo show at Deitch Projects in New York featuring portraits of leaders from the worlds of politics, art and music. The show was the final exhibition at Deitch Projects before its owner, Jeffrey Deitch, assumed his new job as the head of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

The new solo show in Los Angeles is intended to show how Fairey's print work has evolved over the years. "As people started to request more versions of my images, I began to embellish upon my utilitarian printing techniques by printing on wood, metal and canvas, as well as incorporating stenciling back into the work," said the artist.

"Some of these pieces began to function as one-of-a-kind mixed-media paintings. To keep my work affordable and accessible, I also made screen-print-on-paper editions of my fine art pieces."

The trial between Fairey and the Associated Press is set to begin in March in New York. As previously reported, the Associated Press has claimed that the artist violated copyright laws when he used an Associated Press image of Obama as a reference for the "Hope" poster. Fairey maintains that his artwork is protected under fair-use laws.

Followers of Fairey's career may discern a possible reference to the Associated Press case in the poster pictured above. Near the bottom of the poster, printed in a small font, are the words "Freedom of the Press." On one level, the phrase is a play on the word "press" in its relationship to the printing process. But it could also be interpreted as a nod to the media and its protected status under the Constitution.

-- David Ng

Photo credit: Shepard Fairey / Subliminal Projects


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