NYC - East Village: Bowery Mural - Shepard Fairey's May Day
Shepard Fairey's May Day, a Houston & Bowery Mural Project presented by Deitch Projects and Goldman Properties, incorporates several of the images and themes that can be found in his most recent fine art and street art work. In this public piece, Fairey tackles an array of subjects including the reclamation of the U.S. flag as a multi-dimensional symbol, global warming, health care, free speech, activism, and the dysfunction of the two-party system in Washington. Fairey's mural addresses contemporary political themes, but also pays tribute to some of the Pop artists who have influenced him. The American flag and the target reference the iconic paintings of Jasper Johns who is also the subject of a portrait in the May Day exhibition. The newspaper and the May Day megaphone advertisement pay tribute to Warhol's early painted renditions of common subject matter. The mural also weaves in many smaller images and decorative patterns, which supplement the aesthetic and themes of the larger images.
OBEY Giant is a street art campaign by artist and guerrilla marketer Shepard Fairey. The campaign originated with the André the Giant Has a Posse sticker that Fairey created in 1986 in Charleston, South Carolina. Distributed by the skater community, the stickers began showing up everywhere. In 1989, while a student at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design), Fairey released his manifesto and the Obey Giant campaign was born. The campaign, an "experiment in phenomenology" pushed primarily through stickers and prints, has a mission to attempts to stimulate curiosity and bring people to question both the campaign and their relationship with their surroundings. Because people are not used to seeing advertisements or propaganda for which the motive is not obvious, frequent and novel encounters with Obey propaganda provoke thought and possible frustration, nevertheless revitalizing the viewer's perception and attention to detail. Over time the artwork has been reused in a number of ways, most famously in with his "Hope" campaign poster for Barack Obama in the 2008 United States Presidential election.
The Goldman Wall was first covered with streetart in the summer of 1982 by Keith Haring. Goldman Properties, owned by real-estate developer and art enthusiast Tony Goldman, acquired the wall in 1984, using it for advertisements for two decades. In celebration of what would have been Haring's 50th birthday in 2008, Goldman donated the wall to his friend and curator, Jeffrey Deitch and Deitch Projects. The two commissioned a recreation of Haring's 1982 classic, establishing a relationship that resulted in a series of sanctioned murals on the space from a rotating group of artists and that would ultimately carry over to Miami's Wynwood Walls.