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11 February, 2009

Shepard Fairey, of Obama poster fame, arrested in Boston

Shepard Fairey has been forced to OBEY the Man in Boston.

For those who don’t’ know it, Shepard’s art career began as a RISD student in Providence when he placed a large sticker of Andre the Giant over the face of Vincent “Buddy” Cianci on a downtown billboard. The “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” sticker campaign then went worldwide!


BOSTON — A street artist famous for his red, white and blue "Hope" posters of President Obama was arrested in Boston, where he was wanted on warrants for tagging property with graffiti.

Shepard Fairey, 38, was arrested Friday night on his way to the Institute of Contemporary Art. Fairey was scheduled to deejay a kickoff event at the museum for his first-ever solo exhibition, called "Supply and Demand."

Two warrants were issued for Fairey on Jan. 24 after police determined he’d tagged property in two locations with graffiti based on the Andre the Giant street art campaign from his early career, Boston Police Officer James Kenneally said Saturday.

Fairey, of Los Angeles, is scheduled to be arraigned on the misdemeanor charges Monday in Brighton District Court, said Jake Wark, a spokesman for the Suffolk District Attorney. Wark said Fairey would also be arraigned on a default warrant related to a separate graffiti case in the Roxbury section of Boston.

Fairey has spent the last two weeks in the Boston area installing the ICA exhibit, giving public talks and creating outdoor art, including a 20-by-50 foot banner on the side of City Hall, according to a statement issued Saturday by the ICA.

The museum described the reason for Fairey’s arrest as "his efforts posting his art in various areas around the city."

"We believe Shepard Fairey has made an important contribution in the history of art and to popular thinking about art and its role in society," the statement said. "We are enthusiastic to be working with him and are pleased to be showing the first museum retrospective of his work."

The museum said Fairey was released a few hours after his arrest, but that could not immediately be confirmed by authorities. A California lawyer who has represented Fairey in the copyright case didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment on the arrest.

Ginny Delany, who was at the ICA Friday night, told The Boston Globe that Fairey’s arrest "makes him even more of a hero to me." "The fact that he is arrested for his art shows that it is meaningful to him and he cares about what he is doing," said Delany, a graduate student from Cambridge.

Fairey’s Obama image has been sold on hundreds of thousands of stickers and posters, and was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington in the days before Obama’s inauguration. The image is the subject of a copyright dispute with The Associated Press.

Fairey argues his use of the AP photo is protected by "fair use," which allows exceptions to copyright laws based on, among other factors, how much of the original is used, what the new work is used for and how the original is affected by the new work.

1 comment:

  1. The propaganda of "hope" and "change", as the mass media propounded this message into the minds of the voting herd. Straight out of the playbook of Dr. Goebbels: "Propaganda is repetition, constant repetition! Until the message sticks." And it stuck. That's why a democracy(in principle) can never last, because most of the population are gullible dolts, and thus a democracy will always be an illusion for the profit of opulent bankers and tycoons.