Obama 'Hope' artist under attack
Shepard Fairey, the graphic designer, street artist, ad man, political commentator and all-round 21st-Century visual arts polymath who is most famous for the Obama Hope posters, is finding life on the streets a little rocky.
May Day, his large new piece of street art on the corner of Houston Street and Bowery in New York, was commissioned by the Deitch Projects gallery to coincide with and promote its monographic show of his work. It has come under attack from taggers and others as reported in the Vanishing New York Blog and the New York Times Arts Beat blog.
In this video, the eloquent Mr Fairey talks about the project while cherry-pickers and assistants beaver away in the background. He talks about the historical importance of the site - Keith Haring used it in 1982 - and his part in Banksy's film Exit Through the Gift Shop.
Deitch Projects has long been supporters of street art. The gallery represents the estate of Keith Haring and two years ago recreated his famous Houston Street/Bowery work to celebrate what would have been the late artist's 50th birthday.
I can see that, for some, it might run counter to the spirit of what is largely an underground movement to have a major public space dedicated to the work of street artists - it's hardly sticking it to The Man. But having helped to produce the Street Art show at Tate Modern a couple of years ago, where six international artists and partnerships produced colossal works on the side of the building overlooking the Thames, including one by Os Gemeos, and having seen how the artists chose to respond to the circumstances makes me think that a major permanent outside space for international commissions on this side of the Atlantic could elicit some memorable work.