Saturday, October 17, 2009

How low can Shepard Fairey go?

So low that even his lawyers have withdrawn from his case against the Associated Press. Something about the "artist" having misled them "by fabricating information and destroying other material." Yep, you read that right - Fairey sued AP under false pretenses. But given the intellectual dishonesty of his work, is anyone other than fanboy Joel Brown surprised? Somehow I don't think so; this is just more evidence of Fairey's general M.O. Sigh. Guess I'll file this under "Leopards- change their spots?" in the growing "I Told You So" drawer at the Hub Review.

[P.S. - It occurs to me that the "Fairey affair" reflects a rather larger cultural theme - i.e., the conflict that arises when the standards of current pop culture, with its promiscuously lifted hooks and images, crashes into the still-slightly-higher standard of originality expected of high culture. Of course, to many (like Joel Brown, who I admit is my posterboy for intellectually-suspect arts criticism), attracting the younger generation to the fine arts means eradicating the boundary between high culture and pop - and if need be, making high culture no more original than pop has become. But what's the point of keeping something alive if you destroy its standards in the process? More to come on this troubling dilemma.]

1 comment:

  1. It's a big problem with a lot of Fairey's work: not so much that he engages in what we can neutrally call "appropriation" but that the end product is often not strong enough to recontextualize the images he uses, and are instead derivative. Obviously, this is the crux if the legal argument from the AP's side.

    However (despite my little tantrum of two weeks ago for which I have received much very well deserved ribbing) I find this even more worrisome when he appropriates imagery from totalitarian propaganda art. Rather than come up with something that is an ironic comment on propaganda, the work often comes across as nostalgia for these regimes (or at least their official art.)